According to a Mayo Clinic study, nearly 70 percent of Americans are taking at least one prescription drug.
More than half of them are taking two, Mayo Clinic researchers say. The most common prescriptions are antibiotics, antidepressants and pain-killing opioids.
About 20 percent of those in the study were taking five or more prescription medications.
"Often when people talk about health conditions they're talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes," study author Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver says. "However, 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."
Among those studied, 17 percent were on an antibiotic. The other most common prescriptions are as follows:
High blood pressure medication: 11%
Of all demographics, women and older adults receive the most prescriptions.
Antidepressants and opioids are most common among young and middle-aged adults.
Vaccines, antibiotics and anti-asthma drugs are most commonly prescribed to those younger than 19.
A STEADY INCREASE
For the past decade, prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S., the study says.
In a study period between 1999-2000, 44 percent of participants had taken at least one prescription drug in the past month, and 48 percent had in 2007-2008.
Prescription drug spending reached $250 billion in 2009, accounting for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures.