May 27, 2024

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Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?

Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?


Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?

The “miracle weight loss drug” Wegovy from Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk seems to be getting more and more mysterious, evolving towards a “universal miracle drug”.

In addition to its basic function of reducing weight, it also has great benefits for heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease deaths.

Currently, scientists have begun to study Wegovy’s effects on treating symptoms such as addiction and dementia.


New data from a five-year trial released by Novo Nordisk last month showed that its drug Wegovy can effectively relieve a common heart failure symptom in obese patients.

In the same month, Novo Nordisk said that in a long-term trial, patients who took Wegovy had a 20% lower overall risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease death than those who received placebo treatment.

Meanwhile, researchers hope that this drug will also bring other positive news.

Christian Hendershot, director of the Clinical and Translational Addiction Research Program at the University of North Carolina, said: “The research results show that this drug can also bring other benefits to health.”



Treating addiction symptoms

Hendershot claimed that he is studying whether Wegovy’s appetite-regulating mechanism can be used to treat other diseases, such as alcohol and drug addiction.

The principle of Wegovy is to mimic a hormone (glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1) produced in the intestine to suppress appetite.


And preclinical trial data over the years have shown that GLP-1 drugs are effective in reducing the intake of alcohol and other substances in animals. Hendershot is currently studying whether this effect also applies to humans.

Hendershot pointed out that considering these reports, we have reason to be optimistic. Now our task is to verify these findings with clinical data and hope to publish early research results next year.

According to Kyle Simmons, professor of pharmacology and physiology at Oklahoma State University, if the wider use of this drug is proven to be effective, its impact could be huge. He mentioned that early signs show that these drugs are very effective in reducing cravings for cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids.


Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?

(Note: Oklahoma State University semaglutide trial for alcohol addiction) (Note: Oklahoma State University semaglutide trial for alcohol addiction)


The main ingredient of Wegovy is semaglutide, and Simmons is currently leading a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study – semaglutide trial for alcohol addiction, which is being conducted simultaneously with an independent but similar study at the University of Baltimore.

He emphasised that if both studies achieve positive results, it will have an immeasurable impact on the field.


Treating dementia

Some researchers hope that Wegovy can also be used to treat dementia and other cognitive impairments. Because there is already evidence that GLP-1 drugs can reduce the accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, which are believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia).

Currently, Oxford University is conducting a trial to test whether Wegovy can reduce tau protein accumulation and brain inflammation in patients at risk of dementia. It is worth noting that Novo Nordisk is funding this study at Oxford University.



Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?

(Note: Oxford University studies semaglutide’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease) (Note: Oxford University studies semaglutide’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease)



Ivan Koychev, senior clinical researcher who leads the study, said: “We want to see if these drugs interfere with the core pathological processes of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Some people also believe that Wegovy may have potential applications in treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is the most common endocrine metabolic disease in women of childbearing age, causing menstrual irregularities, hirsutism, acne, infertility and other symptoms.

Harshal Deshmukh, a senior clinical lecturer and endocrine consultant at Hull University in the UK, is currently conducting a trial. He said: “If women with PCOS show positive results in terms of menstrual irregularity and hirsutism under moderate weight loss, this may highlight Wegovy’s broader therapeutic potential.”




Negative effects

However, in the foreseeable future, weight loss drugs such as Wegovy will continue to be difficult to obtain because demand exceeds the ability of pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce enough drugs. And this drug is not cheap. The monthly treatment cost of Wegovy on the US market is as high as $1,350.

Wegovy landed in the UK this week, which is another development after Novo Nordisk landed in Germany, Europe’s largest drug market, at the end of July. But affected by tight supply, Novo Nordisk specifically emphasised in its press release title that the UK’s first launch was “controlled and limited”.

Meanwhile, there have been reports that some patients who took Wegovy had thoughts of suicide or self-harm after taking it. People began to worry about the adverse effects that these drugs might have.

Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen said last month that compared with the widespread use of Wegovy, the suspected cases of adverse effects are still very few. He said: “When your drug is used by millions of patients and many different types of patients, it is hard not to encounter some unexpected situations.”

However, Simmons of Oklahoma State University pointed out that more research is needed to understand the impact of this drug on brain signal transmission.

He added: “If more and more people use this drug, if it starts to make more people lose interest in feeling happy, this may not be a good thing for those who have a history of severe depression.”



Is Wegovy effective to treat addiction and dementia?

(source:internet, reference only)

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Important Note: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.