Almost half of Americans use a prescription medication each month

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Forty eight percent of Americans reported that they had taken a prescription medication in the last month, according to new numbers from the CDC for 2007-2008. That number is up from 44% in the last ten years. Not only are more of us taking medications, but we are taking more drugs. The percentage of Americans taking five or more drugs grew from 6% to 11%; seniors are three times more likely to be taking five or more drugs than just one. Children and seniors are more likely to be taking medications; people without insurance or without prescription coverage are less likely. Americans without a regular place to access care are almost three times less likely to be taking prescription medications. The most commonly used medications were bronchodilators for children (for asthma), CNS stimulants for adolescents (attention deficit disorder), antidepressants for adults, and cholesterol lowering drugs for seniors. Prescription drug spending grew 3.2% from 2007 to 2008; that growth is expected to accelerate reaching 7.7% by 2019.
Ellen Andrews