During the COVID-19 pandemic, which Eva Monsen, 46, refers to as the height of her drinking, she consumed roughly half a bottle of wine every day.
Before the pandemic, Monsen, was not a regular drinker, but she came to depend on several glasses of wine to ease the stress while in lockdown.
In August of last year, however, Monsen’s endocrinologist gave her the diabetes medication Ozempic. She claimed that she lost the urge to drink almost immediately.
“I felt no pleasure from it at all [drinking alcohol]. I was simply incapable of feeling the buzz,” she said.
Doctors claim that many other patients have similar experiences.
They start taking the medicine and subsequently quit wanting to drink alcohol.
This is happening as Ozempic receives greater attention and more individuals use it not for diabetes but in order to lose weight.
Dr. Robert Gabbay says that “It’s certainly something I have heard many of my patients say, usually in a positive way.”
Scientists are now attempting to determine why this is happening to so many people. There are a few hints: Semaglutide is a member of a group of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists, which act as an exact replica of the hormone in our body that makes us feel full.
According to Dr. Janice Jin Hwang, semaglutide aids in the regulation of blood sugar and insulin levels and may also have an effect on the parts of the brain that govern our appetite.
Some Ozempic users claim to feel less enthusiastic about their favorite foods or, in some circumstances, even repulsed by them.
Why such a response could also apply to alcohol is unknown.
Over the past ten years, almost all of the research on GLP-1 receptor agonists and alcohol has been done on animals and using substances that are somewhat similar to semaglutide but not exactly the same.
It has been observed that rats, mice, and monkeys given GLP-1 receptor agonists consume and want alcohol at lower levels than those who do not get the medicine.
Some human trials on alcohol and drugs like Ozempic are also currently being conducted.
The outcomes of a clinical study testing a different GLP-1 receptor agonist in individuals with alcohol consumption disorder were recently released by researchers in Denmark.
The study tested whether participants who got the chemical coupled with cognitive behavioral treatment drank less than the group that received a placebo as well as therapy.
It involved over 130 participants.
While alcohol consumption decreased in both groups, it was much lower in the obese individuals who received both the GLP-1 molecule and therapy as opposed to those who just received a placebo and therapy.
People who use Ozempic are navigating the occasionally surprising ways that the medicine affects them until there is more conclusive scientific advice.
Even people who used alcohol in moderation before beginning Ozempic now find themselves abstaining from it.
In the past, J. Paul Grayson, 73, kept a six-pack of beer hidden in the back of his refrigerator.
However, three months after joining Ozempic, he no longer purchased alcohol.
According to the man, he used to have 2 beers with dinner, but he now has trouble getting through the first one.
He had anticipated that once he started taking the drug, his eating patterns would alter but he hadn’t expected to also stop drinking.
“That’s what surprised me. It makes you want to do all of the things doctors have told you your whole life,” Grayson stated.