The headline above is from a June 27, 2013, HealthDay article that appeared in the US News and World Report health section of their news website. The article, and several others on this subject, are reporting on a study published on June 21, 2013, in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Another article on the Mayo report in PharmaLive on June 19, 2013, starts with the results of the study by noting, " Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers say." Even more ominous is that the study showed that a full twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications. The study found that antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed.
Study author, Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, added that, "...the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature."
The study also showed that medication usage, as expected, was higher in the elderly. However, the study also noted that women are more likely to be taking prescription medications than men. In people under the age of 19 years, the most common drugs prescribed are vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-asthma drugs .
The trend toward increased prescription drug usage is alarming. The PharmaLive article writes, "Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade. The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999-2000 to 48 percent in 2007-08. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 the year studied, and accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures. Drug-related spending is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, the researchers say."
Chiropractic represents a drug-less approach to healthcare. In response to this new study, Dr. Michael McLean, President of the International Chiropractors Association commented, "America is awash with drugs. These numbers speak to a problem with how healthcare is viewed in the United States." He continued, "In the US, we spend more money, take more drugs, and have more chronic disease than any other advanced nation in the world. It is time we as a society question the practice of taking more drugs, as it has not yielded improved health."