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Report shows prescription drug use in America increased 10% in the last decade


Prescription drug use is on the rise in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data collected through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed nearly half of Americans swallowed at least one prescription drug per month in 2007-2008, a 10 percent increase over 1999-2000 figures. The number of those taking multiple prescription drugs rose 20 percent and the use of five or more drugs jumped 70 percent.

The survey (link to .pdf) also found:

  • One out of every five children used at least one or more prescription drugs, compared with 9 out of every 10 adults aged 60 and over.
  • Women were more likely to use prescription drugs than were men.
  • The most commonly used types of drugs included: asthma medicines for children, central nervous system stimulants for adolescents, antidepressants for middle-aged adults, and cholesterol lowering drugs for older Americans.

Photo by Michael Chen

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