Probably are a lot more than deodorant and toothpaste. Odds are, for many, there’s no room for those everyday items because the cabinet is overflowing with pill bottles.

A new report from the CDC shows we Americans like our medications. In fact, more than half of us has taken at least one prescription pill within the last month. One in 10 of us has taken five different types of prescriptions within the month.  And it’s not only us grownups and teens have had a big jump in Rx use — about one in four have taken a  prescription.

Lots of stats … but what are the drugs?

The most popular:

– High blood pressure and heart pills
– Statin drugs to lower cholesterol
– Pain pills
– Antidepressants
– Diabetes pills

Now does this mean we are more depressed? Or have more stress causing a rise in blood pressure?

Yes and no.

When it comes to statin drugs, there were few available the last time a big survey like this was done— back in the early nineties. (This one covered 2007-2010.)

And more people are taking better control of things like high blood pressure, which probably explains, in part, the drop in heart attacks.

As for pain pills — well, the population is getting older … and we doctors are also a little too liberal with our use of pain pills — and that is one reason for the jump in deaths from drug overdoses. It’s a jump that shouldnt be  such a great leap.

Diabetes — we know that’s grown as our belt sizes have.

And depression? A tough one since more people are seeking and getting good psychological care — but at the same time you need to keep in mind simply popping a pill each day won’t solve your life problems. Some question how needed many of these prescriptions are.

The one bit of good news from the report? Antibiotic use is down, as patients and doctors alike realize every little sniffle can’t be cured by a pill.

Bottom line: medications have their place, but they can also help or hurt. Before filling that prescription, take a look at what you can do to clean up your lifestyle and perhaps avoid a drug — in fact that’s something we doctors should be recommending as well before reaching for the Rx pad.


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