The Talker: 70 percent of Americans take prescription meds - FOX 32 News Chicago

The Talker: 70 percent of Americans take prescription meds, study says

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

No wonder there's always a line at the pharmacy counter. A new study shows most Americans are on prescription drugs.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription medication, 50 percent are on at least two prescriptions, and 20 percent are on 5 prescriptions or more.

Here are the most common medications we're taking:

  • 17 percent of Americans are on antibiotics
  • 13 percent are on antidepressants
  • 13 percent are on a class of painkillers called opioids
  • 11 percent are on medicine for high blood pressure

Researchers say the high use of anti-depressants suggests mental health is a huge issue in society, and something for the country to focus on. They also say the common use of opioid painkillers is concerning because the medicine, by nature, is addicting.

Others say the study points to larger problems with our overall healthcare system.

An article posted on say all the prescriptions represents a "chemical hijacking" of the human body. It says patients and doctors are looking for quick fixes to treat symptoms instead of treating the causes of ailments. It also says effective non-chemical treatments are underutilized -- things like acupuncture, massage therapy, psychotherapy, and seeing a chiropractor.

The study looked a prescription drug use in 2009. In that year, the U.S. spending on prescriptions was $250 billion.

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