More than 48 percent of all Americans took at least one prescription drug each month in 2008, which amounts to a 10 percent increase over the previous decade, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the use of multiple prescription meds rose by 20 percent, while the use of five of more drugs increased by 70 percent.
In fact, one out of every five Americans was using five or more drugs by 2008, and one out of every five children used at least one prescription med compared with nine out of 10 adults aged 60 and over. Children up to age 11 were using penicillin and drugs for asthma and allergies, while adolescents were taking meds for asthma, depression and ADD (please click on this link) to see the charts.
Consequently, US spending for prescription drugs more than doubled between 1998 and 2008 to $234.1 billion. The CDC notes, however, that the increasing use of multiple drugs by older Americans is a continuing challenge that may contribute to adverse drug events, medication-compliance issues and increased health-care costs.
A few other nuggets: Women were more likely to use prescription drugs than men. People with a regular place to visit for health care were 2.7 times as likely to have used prescription drugs than those without a regular place for health care. And people with health insurance were almost twice as likely to have used at least one prescription med than those without health insurance coverage. Among people with health insurance, those having a prescription drug benefit were 22 more likely to use prescription drugs.