April 20, 2011
The contents of America’s medicine cabinets — as captured by IMS Health‘s new report on U.S. prescription drug use — offer an interesting snapshot of our national health. A look at the top 10 most popularly prescribed drugs, for instance, reflects an aching, aging, overweight citizenry.
The report also finds that for the first time, all top 10 drugs are generics, a shift that resulted in a significantly smaller increase in drug spending in 2010 (2.3%), compared with 2009 (5.1%). Likewise, when measured by total volume, use of oral and nasal drugs increased just 0.5% in 2010 — an historic low, which actually represents a decline of 0.3% on a per capita basis.
The rate of doctor visits also fell: the number of visits to American doctor’s offices dropped 4.2% in 2010, and the number of patients starting new drug treatments for chronic conditions declined by 3.4 million. The reports authors suggest that the recession — along with high rates of unemployment, lack of health insurance and rising health-care costs — may be the main contributing factors to the downturn in drug use.
Following are the top 10 most popularly prescribed drugs in the U.S., according to the report “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010″ [PDF here] by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
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