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Pharmaceuticals

Medication Nation: Half of Americans Now Taking Daily Pills

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: pharmaceuticals, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) More than 50 percent of insured residents of the United States regularly take prescription drugs for at least one chronic health condition, according to a study conducted by Medco Health Solutions, which manages prescription benefits for 20 percent of the population.

Medco reviewed the prescription records of 2.5 million customers of all ages between 2001 and 2007. The company found that 51 percent of children and adults in the United States took at least one prescription drug for a chronic health condition in 2007, compared to 47 percent in 2001. The majority of drugs were taken at least once per day.

The use of drugs for chronic health problems occurred in all age groups, with 25 percent of children and, 52 percent of adult men, nearly 67 percent of women over the age of 19, and 75 percent of seniors 65 and older taking at least one such drug.

A striking number of seniors were regularly taking five or more drugs: 22 percent of men and 28 percent of women.

The largest increase in drug use came among both women and men between the ages of 20 and 44. Most new drug use in this age group was for the treatment of asthma, attention deficit disorder, depression, diabetes and seizures.

Another large increase was in the use of obesity and diabetes drugs among children. According to the study, 1.2 million U.S. children now take drugs for Type 2 diabetes, heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems, and sleeping trouble. Many of these health problems are linked to unhealthy body weights.

"Honestly, a lot of it is related to obesity," said Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer. "We've become a couch potato culture [and] it's a lot easier to pop a pill" than to fight obesity with diet and exercise.

Experts said that in addition to worsening public health, drug use has probably increased due to aggressive marketing by drug companies. The most heavily marketed drugs are those for chronic conditions.

Sources for this story include: apnews.myway.com.

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