From Our 2010 Archives
Prescription Drug Use on the Rise in U.S.
Study Shows About 48% of Americans Take at Least 1 Prescription Drug
Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD
Sept. 2, 2010 -- Prescription drug use in the U.S. has been rising steadily in the past decade and the trend shows no signs of slowing, the CDC says in a new report.
The study, published in the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief No. 42, says the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the rose from 43.5% in 1999-2000 to 48.3% in the 2007-2008 period.
The use of two or more drugs increased from 25.4% to 31.2% over the same decade, and the use of five or more prescription medications jumped from 6.3% to 10.7%.
The report also says that in the 2007-2008 period:
People without health insurance or a regular place to go for medical problems had less prescription drug use compared to those with such benefits.
Age and Gender Are Key
The report notes that prescription drug use increased with age, that women were more likely to use such medications than men, 53.3% to 43.2%, and the non-Hispanic white population had the highest prescription drug use at 54.3%, compared to 42% of black non-Hispanics and 33.9% of Mexican-Americans.
The CDC also says that:
Most Common Prescribed Drugs
According to the 2007-2008 data, the most commonly used drugs were:
The report says diuretics and beta-blockers were commonly used in adults and older Americans, with such medications used most often to treat heart problems and high blood pressure.
SOURCES: National Center for Health Statistics: "NCHS Data Brief No. 42, September 2010."