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Semaglutide and Alcohol Consumption

Published

Jun 12, 2024

Can you drink alcohol while on Semaglutide? How Semaglutide can affect alcohol intake.

Man drinking a beer while on a laptop
Man drinking a beer while on a laptop
Man drinking a beer while on a laptop

The word “alcohol” can bring up a variety of different emotions for people. Some avoid alcohol due to their family history, past experiences, or general taste, while others use alcohol as stress relief or in social situations. 

Odds are, if you’re reading this article, you’re curious about how taking Semaglutide can affect alcohol intake. 

You could be exploring for friends, family, or yourself. Either way, this blog post is a judgment-free zone to provide any information you might need regarding alcohol use and Semaglutide medication. 

So, regardless of your reason for being here, let’s explore alcohol consumption and how Semaglutide can positively change an individual’s drinking habits. 

What Is Semaglutide? 

Semaglutide is a type of medication within the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA).¹ These types of medication stimulate the pancreas’ insulin secretion and delay gastric emptying — often resulting in reduced appetite and subsequent weight loss.¹

The word Semaglutide refers to the active ingredient within the GLP-1 medication. Currently, there are three different administration methods for Semaglutide: injectable, tablet and sublingual. 

While injectable medications are only administered once a week, oral Semaglutide is taken daily.¹ Sublingual administration uses a liquid form of Semaglutide and is dropped under the tongue. Alternatively, tablet Semaglutide is administered in pill form. 

What Is Compounded Semaglutide? 

If you’re hoping to obtain a GLP-1 medication through the Henry Meds platform, note that every prescription uses Compounded Semaglutide. 

Vial reading Compounded Semaglutide

Compounded Semaglutide is specifically made in state Board of Pharmacy and FDA-licensed compounding facilities to ensure the highest quality ingredients are used for each patient. 

This medication is created with you in mind, hence why it’s important to be open and honest with your provider on the Henry Meds platform. They’ll analyze your health history to recommend the appropriate medication, administration method, and dose for you. 

Currently, Henry Meds offers injectable, tablet, and sublingual Compounded Semaglutide. You can find out more information about the compounding process and the medications available on Henry Meds here.

How Alcohol Consumption Affects the Body and Mind 

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2022, 84.1% of people 18 years or older have consumed alcohol in their lifetime.² Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’ve consumed alcohol at some point in your lifetime — so you know the short-term effects like memory loss, lack of coordination, and headaches.³

Information on Standard US Drink Sizes

Within the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, researchers recommend limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day for adult women, and two drinks a day for adult men.⁴ However, avoiding alcohol use completely is healthier for the human body. 

Even though we know abstaining from alcohol is the best practice, it’s not always easy. Around 17% of the US population report engaging in binge drinking within a 30-day period.⁵

Binge drinking is considered consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in one sitting. For women, that’s four alcoholic beverages at one time, and for men that’s five alcoholic beverages on one occasion.⁵ 

Heavy drinking is one step further than binge drinking, and describes women who consume eight alcoholic drinks a week and men who consume fifteen drinks a week.⁵

For some, these numbers can seem alarming. And in some parts of the US, specifically midwest states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, moderate alcohol consumption might be considered a societal norm.⁵ For most, it’s not as simple as saying “no,” especially when loved ones and peers encourage alcohol use. 

The problem is that extended use of alcohol can cause negative effects on your body, including chronic health conditions, cancer, and, for women, pregnancy complications.⁵ 

Also notable, excessive alcohol intake will affect your entire body, not only physically, but mentally and socially too. 

Physical, Mental, and Social Effects

If you’ve consumed alcohol in your lifetime, it’s likely that you know about the immediate physical effects of alcohol, like poor coordination, slurred speech, and disrupted sleep cycles.³ But long-term alcohol use wreaks havoc on the body. 

The potential health consequences of excessive alcohol use are:³ 

  • Heart disease 

  • Liver disease

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Cancer

  • Memory disorders like dementia

Some of these disorders can be life-threatening, especially if alcohol consumption continues for a long period of time. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), excessive alcohol consumption can shorten an individual’s life by 24 years.⁶

Alcohol use also affects the brain as well. Alcohol is considered a “depressant” drug.⁷ While you might feel an initial euphoria from consuming an alcoholic substance, eventually alcohol makes its way to the central nervous system, which causes drowsiness and slowed reaction times.⁸

After long periods of alcohol use, consuming this substance can result in feelings of anxiety and depression.⁷ These feelings can be extrapolated during social events — leaving individuals feeling intense regret for what happened while they were intoxicated. 

Alcohol use can hinder social relationships and can cause issues with family, friends, and other loved ones. When an individual consumes alcohol, they have limited impulse control, which can include additional drug use and physical violence.⁹

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder? 

Before we discuss the clinical features of alcohol use disorder (AUD), note that personal concerns need to be discussed with a healthcare provider — generally a psychiatrist or psychologist. 

Whether or not you relate to some of these symptoms, only a healthcare professional can provide you with an official diagnosis. However, if you are concerned with your alcohol intake, receiving professional advice from a provider will help. 

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-5), this is the qualifying criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder:¹⁰

  1. Consuming alcohol in large amounts or over a longer period of time 

  2. Failing to cut down on alcohol use or wanting to reduce alcohol consumption without success

  3. Spending long periods of time finding alcohol, consuming alcohol, and recovering from hangovers

  4. Craving alcohol

  5. Drinking alcohol results in avoiding responsibilities at work, home, and school 

  6. Despite experiencing negative social and interpersonal problems due to alcohol, the individual continues to use

  7. Opting out of fun, social, or work activities because of alcohol 

  8. Consuming alcohol in dangerous situations (i.e. driving intoxicated)

  9. Continuing to use alcohol even if it affects mental and physical health problems 

  10. Tolerance, described as: 

    1. Consuming more to feel drunk 

    2. Feeling less drunk despite repeatedly drinking the same amount 

  11. Withdrawal, described as: 

    1. Insomnia, tremors, excessive sweating, nausea, anxiety, and other symptoms 

    2. Using alcohol or other substances to combat withdrawal symptoms. 

While there are eleven symptoms to describe AUD, individuals only need to identify with two symptoms to receive a diagnosis of mild Alcohol Use Disorder.¹⁰

What Qualifies as Alcohol Use Disorder?

However, identifying with three or more symptoms may qualify as moderate or severe Alcohol Use Disorder.¹⁰ If you find that you (or a loved one) exhibits these symptoms, consider various treatments for alcohol use. 

Fortunately, there is some evidence that shows Semaglutide may reduce alcohol cravings. Considering alcohol use can also cause weight gain due to the extra calories, Semaglutide can help many people achieve their health goals. 

How Semaglutide Can Help Reduce Alcohol Cravings 

Semaglutide is a relatively new prescription medication for weight loss and adults with Type 2 Diabetes. However, there are a few preliminary studies that suggest name-brand medications of Semaglutide can reduce alcohol cravings. 

Before we discuss these studies, there are two important pieces to note. Firstly, researchers cannot ethically stimulate binge drinking in human participants, therefore, many of these studies are self-reported. Self-report results rely on participants to give honest answers for data purposes, but sometimes, participants will answer in the way they feel a researcher wants them to.¹¹

Secondly, Henry Meds uses Compounded Semaglutide, which may provide slightly different results from name-brand Semaglutide medications. Despite this, the following research will help providers and their patients understand the connection between Semaglutide and the reduction of alcohol use. 

Our first study on Semaglutide and alcohol kicks off with stimulating binge drinking in rats. The animals that were on Semaglutide were shown to have reduced alcohol intake, and these rats abstained from relapsing on alcohol.¹²

Since researchers cannot ethically make humans binge drink in a research environment, animal studies are essential to understand the potential medical results. Therefore, this research gives us a good idea of how Semaglutide may affect alcohol cravings without putting humans at risk. 

Person Denies Drinking

Fortunately, there is some data regarding Semaglutide and alcohol use with human participants too. In a small-group study, six participants diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder were administered Semaglutide to investigate weight loss effects.¹³

During the study, the researchers found that Semaglutide significantly reduced symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder.¹³ While more data is needed on Semaglutide’s effects, this preliminary case study shows great potential for using this GLP-1 medication as a treatment for alcohol use. 

Considering the active ingredient Semaglutide is still fairly new, research studies are still collecting information on its effects on alcohol consumption. However, another GLP-1 medication (subcutaneous injectable Exenatide) delivered a significant reduction in alcohol use symptoms.¹⁴

All of these results heavily suggest that Semaglutide (and other GLP-1 medications) can help reduce alcohol cravings and decrease other Alcohol Use symptoms. 

How to Obtain Semaglutide Medication

If you’re interested in trying Compounded Semaglutide, booking an appointment with a provider on the Henry Meds platform is easy. 

New patients can select a GLP-1 weight management program and insert their location and preferred appointment time. Following this process, patients will be asked to create an account and upload their payment information. 

Obtaining Semaglutide Through Henry Meds

After account creation, you’ll receive a questionnaire about your medical history. If you’re hoping to use Semaglutide to manage symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder in addition to weight loss, it’s important to be open and honest with your healthcare providers regarding your symptoms. That way, your provider can accurately prescribe a medication appropriate for you. 

Once you’ve finished answering questions about your health history, you’ll receive an email detailing the date and time for your video conference with the provider. During your appointment, they will ask clarifying questions and determine your eligibility for the selected GLP-1 weight management program. 

If your provider approves, you’ll receive a prescription and your weight management medication will be delivered straight to your door! 

Schedule an Appointment with Henry Meds Today! 

When you use Henry Meds as your Compounded Semaglutide provider, there’s no judgment — our providers just want to help you see results. 

So whether you or a loved one struggle with Alcohol Use Disorder, Compounded Semaglutide may weaken symptoms and decrease the desire to consume alcohol. Given all the great health benefits that come from abstaining from drinking, why not give it a try? 

Injectable and Oral Semaglutide

Currently, Henry Meds offers different forms of Compounded Semaglutide: injectable and oral. Injectable medications are available for only $297 a month — no insurance required. 

And if you’re not thrilled at the idea of injecting yourself weekly with a needle, we’ve got you covered. Our sublingual Semaglutide is placed under your tongue daily, and our compounded tablet form is now available for your convenience — both are available for just $249 a month. 

Get started today and see the results for yourself! 

To help you trust the information we provide, every article written by Henry relies on peer-reviewed studies and medically-reviewed facts. We ensure that data, ideas, and figures cited are reliable, current, and accurate. Our team of medical reviewers aim to help you cut through the noise with clear and authoritative primary and secondary sources.

Nothing in this article is intended to be prescriptive or medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet and exercise plan. Information presented is about our medically supervised weight management programs and is not an advertisement for a specific drug.

Please note: Henry Meds does not offer Ozempic® or Wegovy® or Rybelsus®, which are only available from the Novo Nordisk company. Compounded Semaglutide is a patient-specific medication created in a state Board of Pharmacy or FDA licensed compounding facility per a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. Compounded drugs are required to exclusively use ingredients from FDA-licensed facilities, and test sterile compounds for potency, sterility, and purity. While compounded drugs are legal they do not undergo pre-market approval from the FDA as they are not made in large batches for the public, compounds are made based on specific orders from a medical professional. Because of that the dose, route of administration, safety, and efficacy may differ from commercially available, brand-name, drugs. Henry Meds exclusively works with licensed sterile compounding pharmacies in the United States.

Sources

  1. Smits, M. M., & Van Raalte, D. H. (2021). Safety of Semaglutide. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 12, 645563. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2021.645563 

  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, n.d.). Alcohol use in the United States: Age groups and demographic characteristics. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-topics/alcohol-facts-and-statistics/alcohol-use-united-states-age-groups-and-demographic-characteristics 

  3. Varghese, J., & Dakhode, S. (2022). Effects of Alcohol Consumption on Various Systems of the Human Body: A Systematic Review. Cureus, 14(10), e30057. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.30057 

  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, December). Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.  https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2021-03/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans-2020-2025.pdf 

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2024, February 29). Data on Excessive Drinking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/data-stats.htm 

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 14). Alcohol Use and Your Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/states/excessive-alcohol-use-united-states.html

  7. McHugh, R. K., & Weiss, R. D. (2019). Alcohol Use Disorder and Depressive Disorders. Alcohol Research : Current Reviews, 40(1), arcr.v40.1.01. https://doi.org/10.35946/arcr.v40.1.01 

  8. Costardi, J. V., Nampo, R. A., Silva, G. L., Ribeiro, M. A., Stella, H. J., Stella, M. B., & Malheiros, S. V. (2015). A Review on Alcohol: From the Central Action Mechanism to Chemical Dependency. Revista da Associacao Medica Brasileira (1992), 61(4), 381–387. https://doi.org/10.1590/1806-9282.61.04.381 

  9. Zhao, D., Nickenig Vissoci, J. R., Mmbaga, B. T., Abdullah, A. S., & Staton, C. A. (2020). Alcohol-Related Risky Behavior Patterns and Their Association With Alcohol Use and Perceived Alcohol Stigma in Moshi, Tanzania. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 81(5), 614–623. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2020.81.614 

  10. Nehring, S. M., Chen, R. J., & Freeman, A. M. (2023). Alcohol Use Disorder. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28613774/ 

  11. Althubaiti A. (2016). Information Bias in Health Research: Definition, Pitfalls, and Adjustment Methods. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 9, 211–217. https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S104807 

  12. Aranäs, C., Edvardsson, C. E., Shevchouk, O. T., Zhang, Q., Witley, S., Blid Sköldheden, S., Zentveld, L., Vallöf, D., Tufvesson-Alm, M., & Jerlhag, E. (2023). Semaglutide Reduces Alcohol Intake and Relapse-Like Drinking in Male and Female Rats. EBioMedicine, 93, 104642. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2023.104642 

  13. Richards, J. R., Dorand, M. F., Royal, K., Mnajjed, L., Paszkowiak, M., & Simmons, W. K. (2023). Significant Decrease in Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms Secondary to Semaglutide Therapy for Weight Loss: A Case Series. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 85(1), 23m15068. https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.23m15068 

  14. Klausen, M. K., Jensen, M. E., Møller, M., Le Dous, N., Jensen, A. Ø., Zeeman, V. A., Johannsen, C. F., Lee, A., Thomsen, G. K., Macoveanu, J., Fisher, P. M., Gillum, M. P., Jørgensen, N. R., Bergmann, M. L., Enghusen Poulsen, H., Becker, U., Holst, J. J., Benveniste, H., Volkow, N. D., Vollstädt-Klein, S., … Fink-Jensen, A. (2022). Exenatide Once Weekly for Alcohol Use Disorder Investigated in a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. JCI Insight, 7(19), e159863. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.159863

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