Student Health Blog: Prescription Drug Use Increased in Past Decade

October 21, 2010  

Posted by Nicolle Keogh

An article published in the New York Times provides results from the government’s recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each year, the survey examines about 5,000 Americans (children and adults). Unlike other similar surveys, NHANES combines amterial from interviews and physical examinations.

The report found that prescription drug use has drastically increased in all age groups in the past decade. In 2008, about 88 percent of people older than 60 were on at least one medication, (many are on a cholesterol-lowering drug) and two thirds were taking five or more.

More than 22 percent of children under twelve, as well as 30 percent of teenagers, were using at least one prescription drug, most commonly to treat asthma.

The most common prescription drugs used by people ages 20 to 59 were antidepressants. Furthermore, college-aged individuals were increasingly prescribed drugs for ADHD. Six percent of adolescents were prescribed drugs for ADHD and related conditions, up from three percent in 1999.

The governmen’t National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that women were heavier prescription drug users than men and that white people used more prescription medicine than non-Hispanic blacks or Mexican-Americans.

If you find yourself using more than one prescription, says Dr. Quiping Gu, who led the NAHNES research, “…side effects and safety become very serious issues.”

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2 Responses to “Student Health Blog: Prescription Drug Use Increased in Past Decade”

  1. wave7722 on November 1st, 2010 11:06 pm

    Well done, and very informative! Great job

  2. wave7722 on November 1st, 2010 11:07 pm

    Well done, and informative. Great job