Trends in Prescription drug use in the USA
- Created on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 21:22
I received this from Medscape. It concerns changes in prescription drug use among Americans from the turn of the century to 2012. As you might have anticipated, prescription drug use went up, way up. Why would that be? A big reason, I suspect, is that prescription drugs are now advertised directly to consumers- in newspapers, magazines, and particularly on television.
The percentage of adults taking prescription drugs has risen to 59%, but realize that is an average, where it is lower among young adults and rises to 90% among seniors age 65 and older.
The bestselling prescription is still a statin drug to lower cholesterol: simvastatin otherwise known as Zocor. I agree with Dr. Uffe Ravnskov of Sweden who says that very few if any patients should be taking this drug or others like it. The statin craze is mostly just a racket. That's what he says, and I agree with him. I am lucky to have corresponded with Dr. Ravnskov, and he sends me his monthly newsletter. Dr. Ravnskov, who is a board-certified internist and nephrologist, is a medical maverick of the highest caliber.
Statins definitely do more harm than good, and it's not clear that they do any good at all. They increase the risk of both diabetes and cancer, and that's proven. There are big class action lawsuits going on right now over statins, including Zocor.
The next best-selling drug, lisinopril, an ACE inhibitor, which is usually given for high blood pressure, but I don't like it either. It is a dangerous drug. Right now, there are class action lawsuits being organized concerning liver damage and liver failure from lisinopril- where people have to get liver transplants.
There are better ways to lower blood pressure than taking that stuff.
The next drug, levothyroxine, is actually beneficial, and millions need it. It is thyroid replacement. The fact is that millions of people reach the point in life, sooner or later, in which they need thyroid hormone replacement. So, I'm not opposed to it. However, I think the natural desiccated thyroid, such as Armour, is superior because it contains T3 as well as T4, plus it's closer to bio-identical than the synthetic. It's also cheaper. Levothyroxine (Synthroid) is outrageously expensive, especially for a drug that has been around for as long as it has.
Next on the list is metropolol, which I do not like at all. It's a beta blocker, and they give it for high blood pressure. Do you really want to lower your blood pressure by weakening your heart? I don't know about you, but I want my heart to be as strong as possible, as strong as it can be. Yes, inhibiting the contractile strength of your heart may lower the stroke output and reduce your blood pressure a little, but so what. It's not worth it. By the way, people also take this drug for "social anxiety" and "performance anxiety" such as by musicians. It's actually very popular with musicians, but not with this musician.
Next on the list is metformin, which is the best drug in all of Modern Medicine. It is the best and safest diabetes drug- by far. And, it has widespread health benefits beyond that with very low risk of harm. The risk/reward profile of metformin is outstanding. Metformin lowers the risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease- the three biggest killers. I'm sure there are many thousands of people taking metformin who aren't even diabetic- just to get the anti-aging/life-extending benefits that are quite proven. So yes, metformin is good.
Next is hydrochlorothiazide which is a diuretic. Diuretics are given for all kinds of reasons including to lower blood pressure. Whenever there is excess fluid anywhere they prescribe a diuretic. But, taking it does not remove the cause of the fluid retention. So, it's just a symptomatic treatment. I am very negative about diuretics. There may be emergencies where people have no choice, such as if your lungs are full of fluid and you can't breathe, but there is altogether too much prescribing of diuretics in this country. I wrote an article about it years ago that is very well read, and I actually hear from people from all over the world who have seen and read this article:
Next on the list is omeprazole, which is a proton pump inhibitor for acid reflux. Nexium. I don't like it. I don't like it for its side effects, and I don't like it for its intended effect of killing stomach acid. You need your stomach acid. Everybody does. You need it to digest your proteins, and it protects you from infection. Think of the acid like a sterilizer for your stomach. So, I reject that drug too. There are other ways to deal with heartburn that don't involve destroying your stomach acid.
Next is amlodipine which is a calcium channel blocker, among the most dangerous of hypertension drugs. I don't like it. It's actually been shown to increase the risk of heart attack. Again, there are class action lawsuits going on over this drug. I do not feel good about it, and I would never take it- even if I had high blood pressure, which I don't.
The next bestseller is atorvastatin (Lipitor) which used to be the best-selling statin, but they refused to lower the price, so Zocor is outselling it. Lipitor is even stronger than Zocor. You should read: Lipitor: Thief of Memory by Dr. Duane Graveline, a NASA physician.
And finally, the tenth best-seller is albuterol, which is definitely necessary. Asthmatics use it as a broncho-dilator, to open up their airways. It does have problems, and in the long run, it may actually worsen asthma. So, asthmatics should definitely try to minimize their use of it. However, I don't dispute the need for it. When you gotta breathe, you gotta breathe.
So, that's the top 10 list of best-selling prescription drugs in America, and most of them I disdain. But fortunately, there are a few exceptions and two of them: thyroid replacement (which I prefer in the natural porcine form) and metformin are truly outstanding.
What follows is the article as I received it from Medscape:
In this study, researchers retrospectively analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database to determine if the prevalence of prescription drug use changed from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012. Household interviews with approximately 38,000 people were included. During the interviews, people were asked if they had taken prescription drugs over the prior 30 days and, if they answered yes, were asked to show the medication containers.
The main findings include:
The percentage of adults reporting use of any prescription drugs increased from 51% in 1999-2000 to 59% in 2011-2012.
The use increased as people became older. For example, for those aged 40-64 years, the use of one or more prescription medications increased from 57% in 1999-2000 to 65% in 2011-2012, whereas the use increased from 84% to 90%, respectively, in those older than 65 years.
Polypharmacy (use of five or more prescription drugs) increased from 10% to 15% among those 40-64 years old and from 24% to 39% for those over 65 years.
There was increased use of antihypertensives (from 20% to 27%); antihyperlipidemics (6.9% to 17%), primarily driven by statins; and antidepressants (from 6.8% to 13%), especially selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Narcotic analgesic use increased from 3.8% in 1999-2000 to 5.7% in 2011-2012.
Among those interviewed, 4.6% took antidiabetic agents in 1999-2000, which increased to 8.2% in 2011-2012, mainly due to greater use of biguanides, insulin, and sulfonylureas.
Prescription proton-pump inhibitors increased from 3.9% to 7.8% and anticonvulsants from 2.3% to 5.5%.
The 10 most commonly used individual drugs in 2011-2012 were simvastatin, lisinopril, levothyroxine, metoprolol, metformin, hydrochlorothiazide, omeprazole, amlodipine, atorvastatin, and albuterol.
All of the reported increases from 1999 to 2012 were not explained by changes in the age distribution of the population.