Americans fill millions of prescriptions annually, many of them to treat the diseases and conditions that afflict nearly all of us at one time or another — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma and so forth — but these common conditions don’t translate directly to the number of prescriptions written.
In fact, the No. 1 drug is Synthroid, used to treat hypothyroidism. It’s followed by Crestor, a statin that reduces cholesterol, and Nexium, used to treat heartburn. Numbers four and five are both inhalants used to fight asthma and related conditions — Ventolin and Advair.
Number six, Diovan, is used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions. Number seven, Lantus Solostar, is a once-a-day injectable used to treat diabetes, followed by Cymbalta, often prescribed in patients with clinical depression.
Number nine, Vyvanse, is used to treat ADHD in children and adults, as well as binge eating disorders in adults. And finally, at number ten, Lyrica is a pain reliever used to treat diabetic nerve pain, pain from spinal cord injuries, and fibromyalgia.
Common health problems
These figures are from the July 2013-June 2014 time frame but don’t differ much from what you’ll find in earlier and later compilations. That’s not surprising, since they reflect the most common health problems Americans have, as we mentioned earlier — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, emotional problems, and pain.
Why bother listing these? It’s simply to illustrate how commonly prescribed these and similar medications are. Chances are, you’re taking one or more of those listed here, or at least something similar. If not Crestor, maybe Zocor or Lipitor. If not Diovan, maybe Lisinopril and so on.
We’re lucky to be living in a time when there are so many drugs that are effective for the common conditions that ail us. Where your pharmacist and physician come in is finding the one or two drugs that work best for you. We’re all different and some of us react better to Drug A while others do better on Drug B. Your pharmacist is always ready to discuss this with you and to confer with your physician to find the best drug or combination of drugs.
Pharmacy departments can be busy but pharmacists are always willing to talk with you. Don’t overlook them.