Americans are taking more prescription drugs than ever before and staying on them for longer periods of time, according to a new study.
The first study to estimate the lifetime burden of prescription drugs in the United States predicts that babies born in 2019 will spend half their lives taking some form of medication as prescribed by their doctor.
The study was conducted by sociologist Jessica Ho of Pennsylvania State University and is based on data from 1996 to 2019 from the Longitudinal Annual National Survey on Annual Drug Use in the United States.
“This paper is not trying to say whether prescription drug use is good or bad,” Ho said. To tell. “Obviously they have made a difference in the treatment of many conditions, but there are growing concerns that they are doing too much.”
The findings reveal a sharp increase in prescription drug use among both genders, nearly all age groups, and all races, but especially among older white women.
“The proportion of Americans who consume large amounts of drugs at the same time in their lifetime is significant and is increasing dramatically over time.” write Wow.
“These trends may be related to several factors, including the increased burden of obesity, longer survival from chronic diseases, and increased treatment of hypertension and cholesterol.”
However, it is also true that life expectancy in the United States has generally increased over time. Ho suggests that the influence of the pharmaceutical industry and the current culture and constraints of the health care system also play an important role in the uptake of prescription drugs.
In 1996, Ho’s research revealed that no man of any age could expect to take more than five drugs for more than a third of his remaining life.
By 2019, men will and Women over the age of 50 are likely to be taking five or more medications for about half of their remaining lives.
Prescriptions for hypertension drugs increased among older men born later in life.extremelyFor women, the largest increase in prescription drugs was for antidepressants.
“In 1996, a newborn baby girl was expected to take antidepressants for 5.55 years, but in 2019 this number more than doubled to 12.52 years,” Ho said. write.
At all ages, women were found to be taking more drugs and for longer than men.
For example, Ho’s study found that the average boy born in 2019 would be expected to take prescription drugs for 37 years of his life.
By comparison, a girl born in 2019 was expected to take prescription drugs for 48 years of her life.
Part of the difference is that women live longer than men and are prescribed the drug much earlier in life. For example, half of all men don’t start taking prescription drugs until age 40. Women reach that standard at age 15.
“Gender differences in drug use are multifaceted and related to many factors, including the fact that contraceptives remain primarily targeted at women,” Ho says. write.
Ho found that compared to whites, blacks and Hispanics go longer periods of their lives without taking any prescription drugs.
Because these groups have higher mortality rates than whites, the difference may be due to inequalities in health care.
But while it’s true that many prescription drugs can help manage disease and improve health and longevity, more isn’t necessarily better. “”medicine for all diseases” can have significant unintended downsides.
The more drugs you take, the greater your risk of: side effects Negative interactions increase the risk of falls, cognitive problems, and death.
Every year in America, Approximately 1.3 million emergency department visits It is caused by drug side effects, primarily blood thinners, diabetes medications, heart medications, seizure medications, and opioid pain medications.
In fact, prescription drugs are the leading cause of death in health care systems in the United States and around the world.
The United Nations is warned Medication errors related to prescribing, dispensing, administration, and monitoring cost the world US$42 billion each year.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to negative consequences from medications, not only because they typically take more medications, but also because they are more likely to forget when and how to take their medications.
‘Deprescribing’ unnecessary drugs in a supervised setting could improve the quality of life and reduce financial burden for millions of patients, but scientists say We’re still researching how to do it safely and effectively..
“Americans take statins, antihypertensives, and antidepressants for a significant portion of their lives, and the proportion is increasing,” Ho said. write.
“However, it is a phenomenon that occurs throughout a significant portion of the life course and has great potential to influence health, well-being, and other outcomes, yet it is surprisingly understudied.”
Going forward, it’s essential to study how taking high levels of prescription drugs consistently over years or even decades actually affects health and well-being in the long term, he said. he claims.
This study Demographics.