Novo Nordisk to test weight-loss drugs on liver disease due to alcohol

Novo Nordisk is exploring whether its weight-loss drugs can also help reduce alcohol intake and treat liver disease. This new study aims to find additional uses for their popular medications.

The Danish company is starting a trial with about 240 patients to see if semaglutide (Ozempic – Wegovy) and cagrilintide can heal liver damage and lower alcohol use in people with alcoholic liver disease. Novo Nordisk is already studying semaglutide for liver disease related to obesity, but this is the first time they are testing it for alcoholic liver disease. The phase-two trial will run until June 2025 and aims to offer a new treatment option for a condition that hasn’t seen new treatments in decades.

These drugs have shown benefits beyond weight loss. For example, a November trial revealed that semaglutide could reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 18%. Further analysis showed that users could maintain weight loss for four years and gain heart health benefits, regardless of their weight. Novo Nordisk is also looking into semaglutide’s potential benefits for Alzheimer’s disease.

Novo Nordisk hopes to expand the use of its drugs to encourage health systems to adopt them widely.