Prescription Drug Use Is Way Up

  • Among people older than 60, about 88 percent are using at least one medicine, and more than one-third are taking five or more.
  • Almost 45 percent of people over 60 now take cholesterol-lowering prescription medicine.
  • Even among children under 12, more than 22 percent were using at least one prescription drug (most commonly for asthma), and so were almost 30 percent of teenagers.
  • Those with insurance were almost twice as likely to use drugs as those without.

Full New York Times article on the rise in prescription drug use.

Comments (6)

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  1. Ken says:

    Hey, we’re into drugs. What else is there to say?

  2. Vicki says:

    The question is: Does anyone know how all those drugs are interacting with each other when people are taking five or more different drugs?

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    Drug therapy is the most efficient form of treatment — in many cases alleviating the need for surgery or hospitalization.

    However, among seniors taking a dozen or more medications the probability is high that some are contraindicated. Seniors are often prescribed one drug to control side effect of other drugs they are taking. People should periodically consult their doctor to see if they still need to take a drug rather than taking it for the rest of their lives.

  4. Virginia says:

    To me, this begs the question: how do we define what a drug is? Most of us take a Tylenol now and then for a headache. Does that make us addicts? I would submit that Tylenol is pretty darn dangerous, but that if it were not available OTC, the American public would revolt.

    Our ancestors used plants to help heal wounds and fix what ailed them. Is it really such a tragedy that we take medicines? In my opinion, the only problem is that we’re having trouble paying for them. (And there are some interaction issues, but as technology improves, I’m guessing we’ll see computers that tell us how things interact.)

    I’m sure there’s an argument to be made about being manipulated by drug companies, but in general, I’m not sure taking medicine is that big of a deal.

  5. Bruce says:

    One more confirmation of the Law of Demand. When drugs are cheaper (because of insurance), people consume more of them. This is important for all those people who think price doesn’t matter in making health care decisions.

  6. Erik says:

    Maybe this is why:

    Pay Dirt: Hundreds of Doctors Earned Big Money from Drug Companies
    Database Shows Docs Who Got $100,000 or More; Did Money Cloud Their Judgment?

    Pharmaceutical companies paid out more than $250 million to some 17,000 doctors and nurses across the country in 2009 and 2010, according to a new database compiled and published by ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism group.

    Separately, ProPublica found records in 18 states that showed 250 of the doctors had been accused of professional misconduct, disciplined by state medical boards or didn’t have the credentials to be considered specialists or researchers. The list includes some doctors ProPublica found were accused of sexual misconduct and other criminal behavior.