Mayo Clinic researchers have reported that 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug, and 35 percent take at least two.
Shockingly, one in five Americans take more than five prescription drugs.
According to researchers, antibiotics, antidepressants and painkiller opioids are the most common prescriptions.
“Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” said Dr. St. Sauver, a Mayo Clinic researcher. “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on.”
As a whole, women between 50 and 64 are the greatest consumers of prescription drugs with one in four taking antidepressants. The usage is expected to increase when many of the drugs become eligible under Medicare and users age.
Expenditures on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009, 12 percent of which was covered by personal health care.
However, the most surprising and upsetting statistic is that antidepressants were most commonly taken by young and middle-aged adults.
“That’s a general problem in the U.S.,” Rocca said, who believes that over-prescription plays a large role in addictive painkiller dispersal.
According to the Center for Disease Control, the percentage of people using at least one prescription drug in the past month has increased by 50 percent and is still expected to rise.