The CDC’s 37th national health report called Health, United States, 2013, showed about half of all Americans reported taking 1 or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days during 2007–2010, and 1 in 10 took 5 or more.

The annual report assembles comprehensive health data from state and federal health agencies and the private sector. This year’s report includes a special section on prescription drugs. Some of the key highlights include:

  • Cardiovascular agents (used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease or kidney disease) and cholesterol-lowering drugs were two of the most commonly used classes of prescription drugs among adults aged 18–64 years and >65 years in 2007–2010.
  • The use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among those aged 18–64 has increased more than 6-fold since 1988–1994, due in part to the introduction and acceptance of statin drugs to lower cholesterol.
  • Other commonly used prescription drugs among adults aged 18-64 years were analgesics and antidepressants.
  • The prescribing of antibiotics during medical visits for cold symptoms declined 39% between 1995–1996 and 2009–2010.
  • Other commonly used prescription drugs among those aged >65 included analgesics, blood thinners, and diabetes medications.
  • The use of antidepressants among adults aged >18 increased more than 4-fold, from 2.4% to 10.8% between 1988–1994 and 2007–2010.
  • Drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics among those aged >15 more than tripled in the past decade, from 1.9 deaths per 100,000 population in 1999–2000 to 6.6 in 2009–2010.

Also included are reference tables covering topics such as birth rates and reproductive health, life expectancy and leading causes of death, health risk behaviors, healthcare utilization, and insurance coverage and health expenditures.

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