A report published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates a sharp spike in prescription drug use in the United States between 1999 and 2012.
The increase in use was for most drug classes.
Medications that saw dramatic use increases include those used to treat hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. The most commonly used individual drug in 2011-2012 was simvastatin (7.9 percent), increasing from 2.0 percent in 1999-2000.
The other top 10 drugs showing increases were lisinopril, levothyroxine, metoprolol, metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole, amlodipine, atorvastatin and albuterol.
"Use of prescription drugs represents a major expenditure in the United States, and research suggests that use of prescription drugs is increasing," the report said. "Yet much of the information about prescription use is derived from pharmacy databases or expenditure data, neither of which directly captures use at the population level."
The report was written by Elizabeth Kantor, formerly of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and a group of colleagues using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The drug regimens of 37,959 U.S. adults age 20 and older were analyzed.
"The researchers found that the prevalence of prescription drug use increased from 51 percent in 1999-2000 to 59 percent in 2011-2012, while the prevalence of polypharmacy (use of five or more prescription drugs) increased from 8 percent to 15 percent," the report said.
"Eight of the 10 most commonly used drugs in 2011-2012 are used to treat components of the cardiometabolic syndrome, including hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia," the report said.
Report finds spike in prescription drug use between 1999 and 2012
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