Dr. Schmidt Interviewed by the Scientific American

“Semaglutide’s story becomes even more complicated in drug addiction. Addictive drugs such as cocaine and opioids are generally thought to “hijack” the brain’s natural reward pathways, says Heath Schmidt, a neuropharmacologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Over time, the brain needs more and more dopamine to function, leading to addiction.

Previous research has found that activating GLP-1 receptors in rats’ brain causes the animals to eat less of a high-sugar chow, which they would normally prefer over a less delicious but healthier bland meal when given the option. This suggests that GLP-1 makes unhealthy food less rewarding. Schmidt’s team found the same to be true with cocaine: rats that received a GLP-1 agonist took less cocaine when it was offered. The researchers are now repeating the experiments in rats addicted to opioids or fentanyl. Several other studies have shown that GLP-1 agonists cause rats to drink less alcohol and produce less dopamine when they do drink, suggesting that the activity is no longer as pleasurable.”

Check out the rest of the article, Could New Weight-Loss Drugs like Ozempic Treat Addiction?