CDC: Nearly half of all Americans use prescription drugs

Overall prescription use has increased in kids, adults and the elderly, but access disparities still exist for uninsured.

CDC: Nearly half of all Americans using prescription drugs
CDC: Nearly half of all Americans using prescription drugs

HealthDay News – Nearly half of all Americans taking one or more prescription drugs, with use increasing in U.S. children and the elderly, according to the CDC.

“Americans' use of prescription drugs has grown over the past half-century due to many factors, including the development of new and innovative drug therapies to treat infectious and chronic conditions,” wrote the agency in it's annual health report.

Here were some of the key findings from the report regarding prescription drug use:

  • About 48% of patients said they were taking a prescription medication from 2006 to 2010, compared with 39% from 1988 to 1994
  • About one in four children took one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days (2006–2010)
  • Among patients aged 18 to 64 years 17.6% took at least one cardiovascular agent in the past 30 days (2007
    –2010)
  • Among patients aged 65 years and older, 70.2% took at least one cardiovascular agent and 46.7% took a cholesterol-lowering drug in the past 30 days (2007–2010)
  • Prescriptions of antibiotics for cold symptoms during routine medical visits declined 39% from 1995 to 1996 and 2009 to 2010
  • Painkillers caused 6.6 deaths for every 100,000 people in 2009 to 2010, compared with 1.9 deaths per 100,000 in 1999 to 2000
  • Antidepressant use increased 4.6 times from 1988 to 1994 and 2007 to 2010

The report also highlighted care disparities related to cost -- adults aged 18 to 64 years who were uninsured for all or part of the past year were more than four times likely to report not getting needed drugs than their insured counterparts.

"Uninsured adults are more likely to delay or forego needed care, are less likely to receive needed medical care and prescription drugs due to cost, and are less likely to seek preventive care than the insured," the agency wrote. "Evidence suggest that underuse of medications due to cost concerns is associated with poorer health and increased use of other health care services."

References

  1. National Center for Health Statistics. (2014). Health, United  States, 2013 with Special Feature on Prescription Drugs. DHHS Publication [No. 2014-1232]. Hyattsville, MD. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus13.pdf#highlights
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