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Updated: 06/19/2013 12:37 PM
Created: 06/19/2013 12:18 PM | Print |  Email
By: Maricella Miranda

Mayo Study: 70 Percent of Americans Take Prescription Drugs

Photo: MGN Online

Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug - and more than half take two, according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic.

The most commonly prescribed drugs include antibiotics, antidepressants and pain-killing opioids, the study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription drugs.

The study's findings, released Wednesday, can be found here.

The data gives insight into prescribing practices, researchers say.

"Often when people talk about health conditions they're talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes," Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver said in a statement. "However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants -- that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature."

Prescription drug use has increased steadily across the country for the past decade, according to the Mayo Clinic. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 - the year studied - accounting for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery. The study found that:

  • 17 percent of those studied were prescribed antibiotics
  • 13 percent were taking antidepressants
  • 13 percent were on opioids
  • 11 percent were taking drugs to control high blood pressure
  • 11 percent were taking vaccines

The results also found that:

  • Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions.
  • Vaccines, antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs are the most commonly prescribed for people under the age of 19.
  • Antidepressants and opioids are the most commonly prescribed for young and middle-aged adults.
  • Cardiovascular drugs are most commonly prescribed for older adults.
  • Women receive more prescriptions, especially antidepressants.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 women, ages 50 to 64, are on antidepressants.

Video courtesy of the Mayo Clinic.

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