Worse times, better medicine, as prescription drugs numbers in the U.S. are higher than ever, which could be both good news and bad news at the same time.
- Researchers studied a number of 37,000 American adults
- The use of antibiotics are nearly 60% of the U.S. population
- Simvastatic (Zocor) was the most popular, taken by 8% of the entire population
- 8/10 of the most popular drugs were related to obesity
Researchers conducted a study on the use of prescription drugs of over 37,000 Americans, over the age of 20 years old. Their focus was centered around the types of medication use, and how the health of the U.S. population has evolved. Naturally, obesity is still a grave concern and their findings emphasized it.
According to their findings, a high number of 59% of the population is on some kind of prescription drug. And, as mentioned before, 8 out of 10 of those were related to diabetes, and were the most common between 2011 and 2012. This implied various types of prescription drugs that treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or others.
Blood pressure medications have seen a spike, from 20 to 27%, while cholesterol drugs have seen an even bigger increase from 7 to 17%. Both of these are more common to conditions such as obesity or even those who are overweight.
The winner as the most popular prescription drug in the U.S. was simvastatin (Zocor), which is a cholesterol-lowering medication. It was reportedly taken by 8% of the U.S. total population.
The rates have seen a considerable increase from a little over 50% to nearly 60% in just three years. Additionally, the rate of people taking 5 or more prescription drugs almost doubled to 15%. It’s not all bad news though. According to the co-author of the study and epidemiologist, Elizabeth Kantor, this means that people are getting easier access to health care.
While it’s a grave concern to keep the number of prescription medications low, due to the ever increasing resistance to antibiotics, the fact that they’re becoming more common means that they’re more accessible. This could be abused, but it could also help. In the long run, this could imply that the rate of mortality might drop for U.S. citizens.
However, that does not mean experts should be lenient on the issue.
For example, antidepressants have seen an increase from 7 to 13%, such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Paxil. Their numbers nearly doubled. According to Kantor, however, this could be because the attitudes have shifted where it regards depression. It’s becoming a much more widely recognized condition. There are numerous drugs to treat it, and better awareness of its existing symptoms.
While this means Americans have easier access to health care, it’s also potentially dangerous. A healthy lifestyle can prevent their use, meaning that the popularity of prescription drugs is mostly optional. However, according to Dr. David Katz, here interferes irony. The United States heavily peddles food that results in illnesses and drugs to treat them.
Companies, be it for food or pharmaceutics, are the true winners, while “we and our families are the losers”.
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