Our medicine cabinets provide an interesting peek at our country’s health, and it appears that we as a country are an aching, aging, obese community. Ten of the most prescribed drugs in 2010 were released in a new report by the IMS Institute of Healthcare informatics.
The use of medication is an important topic for all stakeholders in the U.S. healthcare system. The IMS report found that the medications consumed grew at very low volumes (comparatively and historically), and even declined when it came to injectable or infusible medication. Approximately 78% of the nearly 4 billion U.S. prescriptions written in 2010 were for generic drugs.
According to the report, the 10 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. are:
1. hydrocodone/acetaminophen – 131.2 million Rx
2. simvastatin (Zocor), a cholesterol-lowering statin drug – 94.1 million Rx
3. lisinopril (Prinivil and Zestril), a blood pressure drug – 87.4 million Rx
4. levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid), synthetic thyroid hormone – 70.5 million Rx
5. amlodipine besylate (Norvasc), an angina/blood pressure drug – 57.2 million Rx
6. omeprazole (Prilosec), an antacid drug – 53.4 million Rx
7. azithromycin (Z-Pak and Zithromax), an antibiotic – 52.6 million Rx
8. amoxicillin, an antibiotic – 52.3 million Rx
9. metformin (Glucophage), a diabetes drug – 48.3 million Rx
10. hydrochlorothiazide, a water pill for blood pressure – 47.8 million Rx.
Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010, according to IMS. These drugs included:
Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug – $7.2 billion
Nexium, an antacid drug – $6.3 billion
Plavix, a blood thinner – $6.1 billion
Advair Diskus, an asthma inhaler – $4.7 billion
Abilify, an antipsychotic drug – $4.6 billion
Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug – $4.4 billion
Singulair, an oral asthma drug – $4.1 billion
Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug – $3.8 billion
Actos, a diabetes drug – $3.5 billion
Epogen, an injectable anemia drug – $3.3 billion
Source: IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics: “The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010,” April 2011.