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Rx Drug Use

September 2, 2010, 5:09 PM by Kelli Grant

Rx Drug Use
If you pop a prescription pill each day for whatever ails you, you're apparently in very crowded company.

Americans are using more prescription drugs than ever before.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all people in the U.S. have taken at least one prescription drug in the past month.  Nearly one out of three people used two or more and more than 10 percent take five or more. As you'd probably expect, there are far more adults popping pills than children.

Despite efforts to lower medication costs for all Americans, spending for prescription drugs in the United States now adds up to $234 billion a year. That's more than double what people were spending at the pharmacy counter just 10 years ago. Still, there is no disputing that as new drugs are introduced and new uses are found for older medications, more people have improved health and a better quality of life with the appropriate use of prescription drugs.

So what are the most popular medications being used?  Asthma treatments are among the most popular for children. Central nervous system stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, which are used to treat attention and hyperactivity disorders, are most common among teenagers. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to adults. And cholesterol-lowering drugs are most frequently prescribed for older Americans.

The number of prescriptions per person tends to increase as they age and women make more trips to the pharmacy than men.

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