Ozempic and Wegovy users are shedding weight — and reducing their boozing, new research finds.

Taking the drugs can halve the risk of being diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or relapsing, according to a study from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

“This is very promising news in that we may have a new therapeutic method to treat AUD,” Rong Xu, the study’s lead researcher, said in a statement.

The researchers examined the health records of 83,825 patients taking semaglutide or a different obesity medication. Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy. These drugs mimic GLP-1 — the hormone the body naturally produces after eating — to make people feel full, reducing their cravings.

The study authors tracked how many patients were diagnosed with AUD over a yearlong period, finding that semaglutide cuts that risk by 50% to 56%.

The researchers say they were able to replicate these findings in a larger study of 598,803 patients with Type 2 diabetes. The study results were published in May in the journal Nature Communications.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest study [of this kind] done so far,” Xu told New Scientist this week. “This is a strong indication this medication may be beneficial for both preventing and treating alcohol use disorders.”

AUD causes about 178,000 deaths each year in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Food and Drug Administration has approved only three medications to treat AUD, the researchers say.

Meanwhile, prescription medications for diabetes and weight loss have exploded in popularity.

In a July 2023 survey, 4% of adults admitted to using a prescription drug to lose weight — while one in 10 confessed they had stopped taking this type of medication.

While these drugs may cause unwanted side effects — such as hair loss and behavioral changes — they’re also showing promise in the battle against addictions, perhaps because they have been found to affect the brain’s reward system.

“In January we showed that semaglutide is associated with a decrease in suicidal thoughts, and in March, we demonstrated that semaglutide is also associated with a reduction in both new diagnoses and recurrence of cannabis-use disorder,” Case Western Reserve study co-author Nathan Berger said.

Xu told New Scientist that how the drugs can combat addictions is the subject of ongoing randomized clinical trials.

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