Trends in Prescription Drug Use in the U.S.

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This 14 page article published in JAMA highlights trends in prescription drug use for adults in the U.S. between 1999 and 2012. This summary data was derived from the National Health and  Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted regularly by the National Center for Health Statistics. Overall, prescription drug use increased among US adults between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, as reflected by an increase in any prescription drug use and a marked increase in polypharmacy. (Multiple prescription drug use)   Specifically, the prevalence of prescription drug use
increased from 51% in 1999-2000 to 59% in 2011-2012, while the prevalence of polypharmacy increased from 8.2%to 15%.

In this nationally representative survey, significant increases in overall prescription drug use and polypharmacy were observed. These increases persisted even after accounting for changes in the age distribution of the population. The prevalence of prescription drug use increased in the majority of but not all drug classes.

Of interest to the wellness community, antihypertensives, statins, anti-depressants and diabetic medication use has all increased significantly.

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