No class of drugs can beat prescription painkillers for the sheer quantity of prescriptions written, but the meds that place second and third have nothing to be ashamed of.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are the second most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. (just think Lipitor, best-selling drug ever) and. . .drum roll, please. . .. Antidepressants place third. For real.
A study in the August 2011 issue of Health Affairs found it to be the case–along with a few other fascinating facts about antidepressant usage in America. For one, between 1996-2007, “the proportion of visits at which antidepressants were prescribed but no psychiatric diagnoses were noted increased from 59.5 percent to 72.7 percent.” For another, 7% of all primary care doctor visits involve a prescription for antidepressants.
Enjoy a Health Central infographic–particularly the first line about how many American take antidepressants–then we’ll meet again to finish our stat run-down.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) found that the rate of antidepressant use increased nearly 400% between 1988–1994 and 2005–2008. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/08/06/138987152/antidepressant-use-climbs-as-primary-care-doctors-do-the-prescribing http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db76.htm