28 November 2023
A potential therapeutic approach for addictive disorders
Dulaglutide known as an appetite suppressant causes healthy people to consume less alcohol. This finding may indicate that GLP-1 analogs act on the reward system and could be used in the treatment of addictions.
In the SKIP study conducted by the Bettina Winzeler and her research group, 255 smokers received the GLP-1 analogue dulaglutide or placebo during a smoking cessation program. Among other parameters, also alcohol consumption was recorded in this study. An evaluation by doctoral student Leila Probst planned as secondary analysis, showed that after 12 weeks of treatment, study participants taking dulaglutide drank 29% less alcohol than those taking placebo.
The active substance
Dulaglutide (Trulicity®) belongs to the class of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogs. These have an appetite-suppressing effect and are already being used successfully to reducing weight in overweight people. Dilaglutide can also reduce weight gain and blood sugar levels as an adjunctive therapy in a smoking cessation program. Additionally, animal studies show that these drugs could play an important role in various addictiive disorders, as they influence the craving for alcohol, nicotine or cocaine.
These new results join promising data from animal studies which indicate that these drugs act on the reward system and reduce the consumption of substances such as alcohol but also opiates or cocaine. The extent to which these observations can also be transferred to people with addictions must now be clarified in further studies.
Secondary analysis of alcohol consumption under dulaglutide
PD Dr. med. Bettina Winzeler, Senior Physician, Endocrinology, Diabetology & Metabolism at the University Hospital Basel
Study design of SKIP study
Double-blind, placebo-controlled, monocentric, randomized clinical trial
University Hospital Basel
Number of study participants
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