Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Depression

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

DaisyN Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

How Many Medications Do You Take? Do You Need Them All?

By Dr. Carrie Jones Expert HERWriter
 
Rate This
How Many Medications Do You Take? Do You Need Them All? 3 5 51
do you need all your medications? how many drugs are you taking?
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Imagine this story. A woman has high cholesterol, requiring her to take a pill to lower her numbers. This causes her muscles to feel sore, inducing her to take routine pain medications.

The pain starts to wear on her affecting her mood, so she swallows an antidepressant that causes nausea, therefore she uses an anti-nausea medication to help her get through the day.

One of these medications causes mild to moderate heartburn at night therefore she cannot sleep and requires a heartburn medication on days she remembers, and if not she pops something for sleep.

Some days she does both for good measure.

This may sound like a joke, however the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience published a report that 4.02 billion drug prescriptions were doled out last year. That is a whole lot of medications.

Leading the list in sales is Lipitor (for cholesterol) followed by Plavix (blood clots), Nexium (heartburn), Abilify (depression and bi-polar), Advair (asthma), Seroquel (depression and bi-polar), Singulair (asthma), Crestor (cholesterol), Cymbalta (depression), and Humira (autoimmune arthritis and Crohn’s disease).

In terms of actual prescriptions versus sales, the 2010 numbers show that the pain medication hydrocodone/APAP (commonly known as Vicodin) tops the list followed by Amoxicillin (antibiotic), Lipitor (cholesterol), Levothyroxine (thyroid), Lisinopril (blood pressure), Simvastatin (cholesterol), Plavix (blood clots), Nexium (heartburn), and Singulair (asthma).

Interestingly, the top psychiatric medicine routinely prescribed is Xanax which is commonly used for anxiety, however it is addictive and should be used sparingly.

This goes to show you the extremely high amount of stress and anxiety in our society in the last year (or two) given the numbers.

Looking at the sales numbers and actual numbers sheds a lot of light onto the health issues of Americans. Clearly pain, cholesterol, and psychiatric issues are a huge issue requiring a lot of medication.

How many are you on and do you need them all?

Add a Comment1 Comments

CREn4U

This is an eye opener for me. I am on 15 different prescriptions plus 6 supplements. I have several chronic illnesses that are being treated with more than one medication. I take cholesterol medicine, thyroid medicine, 3 pain medications, 2 medications for GERD, 3 psychiatric medicines, a muscle relaxant, inhaler for asthma, and a medication for RLS. I am also on B-12 injections, and vitamin D for low levels of vitamin D. I am also on allergy meds. I try to get my PCP to go over my list of meds and see what might be discontinued, but she always says she doesn't have time. I have quarterly lab work, and we go over the results, but I can't seem to get her to review my meds. I may have to request an extended appointment. I want desperately to get off some of these meds. but my doctors don't seem to want to stop any of them. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

June 4, 2014 - 6:26pm
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1635 Health

Changed

609 Lives

Saved

456 Lives
3 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you ever used an online community or social network to self-diagnose a medical problem?:
View Results