Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Wisdom Wednesday: Prescription Drug Use
During 2015-2016, about 46% of the US population used one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days, down slightly from 48% a decade ago, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the 2015-2016 period, prescription drug use increased with age, from 18% among children younger than 12 years to 85% among adults 60 and older, Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, and colleagues report in a data brief published online May 8.
Prescription drug use was lower among males (42%) than females (50%), although the pattern differed by age. Among children up to age 11, prescription drug use was higher among boys (22%) than girls (14%), while among adults aged 20 to 59, prescription drug use was lower among men (38%) than women (56%). There were no significant differences by gender among adolescents aged 12 to 19 or adults aged 60 or over.
Prescription drug use was highest among non-Hispanic whites (50%), followed by non-Hispanic blacks (45%), and lowest among non-Hispanic Asian (33%) and Hispanic individuals (37%).
The most commonly used prescription drugs were bronchodilators for children aged 0 to 11 years (4%), central nervous system stimulants for adolescents aged 12 to 19 (6%), antidepressants for adults aged 20 to 59 (11%), and lipid-lowering drugs for adults aged 60 or over (46%).
Looking at prescription drug use trends over the past decade, the researchers observed an overall decreasing linear trend from 2007-2008 through 2015-2016, from 48% to 46% of the US population, with the most statistically significant trend down among children aged 0 to 11, from 22% to 18%. The authors note, though, that the observed declines in drug use among other age groups were not statistically significant.
This mild decrease in prescription drug use is encouraging but must continue and accelerate to effect real change. I am pleased that the decrease is the most significant in children. However, the most commonly used drugs are of great concern – central nervous system stimulates for adolescents, antidepressants for young adults and statins for adults over 60.
This country must change its’ perception of prescription drug use as the norm rather than the exception.
Source: May 8, 2019 NIH