Ozempic, Wegovy to be tested as alcohol-related liver disease therapies

Novo Nordisk is investigating the potential of Ozempic, Wegovy's active ingredient and two other drug candidates as treatments for alcohol-related liver disease. 

The phase 2 trial will see how semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy); cagrilintide, an experimental GLP-1 agonist; and another investigative therapy affects liver damage and alcohol use, according to a study record on clinicaltrials.gov. The third medicine is an early-stage drug that targets the fibroblast growth factor 21 hormone and has potential as a liver disease treatment, Bloomberg first reported May 14. 

Alcohol-related liver disease is characterized by liver damage caused by excessive drinking, and symptoms include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, jaundice and fatigue, according to Yale Medicine. Current treatments include abstinence from alcohol, corticosteroids and liver transplants. 

Since glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists help curb hunger by promoting a feeling of fullness, they might also reduce cravings for alcohol and other substances. 

Other research teams have already begun trials on how GLP-1s might affect alcohol and drug addiction, sleep apnea, a form of liver disease called metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, and a handful of other conditions. 

Novo Nordisk plans to begin May 20 and finish the study by September 2025. The research will be conducted in 12 U.S. states and 13 other countries. 

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