Prescription Drug Use is Increasing Among Americans


Prescription drugs are on the increase according to a government report. By 2007-2008, half of Americans were using at least one or more prescription drugs and one out of 10 used five or more, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Prescription drug use is also high in children

In addition, the report discovered that 20 percent of children and 90 percent of adults aged 60 and older reported using at least one prescription drug in the past month, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers.

This is no surprise since the U.S.spending for prescription drugs has more than doubled to $234.1 billion over the 10 years covered by the report, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The two biggest companies last year was Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


"The number of people using 5 or more medications has increased by 70%," said Macary Marciniak of PharmD - UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. "It confirms what we see every day in practice," Marciniak said. "Many pharmacists will tell you that they have seen this increase in prescription drug use every year."

"The more prescription medications someone's taking or the more non-prescription medications they're taking, the more they're at risk for a medication-related problem," added Marciniak.

The percentage of Americans that use at least one prescription drug a month has increased from 44 percent to 48 percent. That’s almost half the population,” said the CDC’s Charles Dillon. “A lot of the increase is in older people,” Dillon said. “With aging, people have more health problems. Nine out of ten Americans over age 60 take a prescription drug at least once a month.”

“Current prescription drug use patterns need to be better understood,” the study’s authors from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics said in their report. “The use of multiple medications by older Americans “is a continuing challenge that may contribute to adverse drug events, medication-compliance issues and increased health-care costs,” they wrote.

The drugs making Prescription drugs are on the increase included asthma meds for kids, central nervous system stimulants (such as those used to treat ADHD) for teens, antidepressants for the middle-aged and cholesterol-lowering drugs for older people.