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HHS HealthBeat (July 24, 2013)

Who gets the meds


Three bottles filled with pills rest on a table.

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Medicine Safety

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Mayo Clinic researchers think almost 70 percent of Americans are prescribed at least one drug every year. Researcher Jennifer St. Sauver bases that on a long-running look at people in Olmsted County, Minnesota, but she says the statistics from the study are comparable with other national estimates.

St. Sauver says antibiotics are most common. But she also says:

“The other two that were extremely common in our community were antidepressants and opioid analgesics, and that was a little bit surprising.”

Thirteen percent of the people were on antidepressants and 13 percent were on opioids.

She says the numbers on the opioid drugs are especially concerning because the drugs can be addictive.

The study in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: July 23, 2013