Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorEvery year, a variety of organizations come out with their lists of the most commonly prescribed medications in America.

Some lists are sorted by cost; others by number of prescriptions; others by name vs. generic.

The latest snapshot is a compilation of a few lists showing what drugs were the most popular to be written on a pad, and given to you.

The rankings show little change from years past.

It reflects a society that gets a AAA rating – Aging, Aching, and Abusing.

1. generic Vicodin- 135 million+ prescriptions. That’s a lot of pain. Some legitimate that deserves relief — the majority, in my opinion, overprescribed and abused. And we doctors shoulder much of that blame.

2. Lisinopril – for high blood pressure – 87 million

3. Levothyroxine – thyroid hormone for underactive thyroid- 77 million

4. generic Lipitor- for high cholesterol- 71 million

5. generic Zocor (simvastatin)- for high cholesterol- 68 million

6. generic Norvasc – for high blood pressure- 60 million

7. Azithromycin- a/k/a Z-pack and similar- 53 million

8. Amoxicillin- 52 million

9. Metformin- for type II diabetes- 50 million

10. HCTZ — water pill for high blood pressure — 48 million

Depending on the source, the Top 10 varies somewhat, and the exact number of prescriptions are actually a ballpark since each source gives a different number — but this compilation is pretty close, and gives you an idea of what we keep in our medicine chests.

A lot of pain pills. Drugs for cholesterol and blood pressure. And very close behind, though not on the list, are anti-ulcer and anti-GERD medications such as omeprazole and Prilosec — hard to track since they are OTC.

BTW, if you’re wondering, we are sleepless in America. Ambien and other sleeping pills did make the Top 15 in several of the reports.


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