The statistics on medication usage among elderly patients in the US are eye-opening: more than one-third of prescriptions drugs used in the US are taken by elderly patients; the ambulatory elderly fill between 9-13 prescriptions a year (including new prescriptions and refills); the average elderly patient is taking
Researchers estimate that 25 percent of people ages 65 to 69 take at least five prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions, a figure that jumps to nearly 46 percent for those between 70 and 79.
Americans filled a record 5.8 billion prescriptions in 2018 — at a rate of 17.6 prescriptions per person — up 2.7% over 2017, according to a report released Thursday.
People age 65 and older make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 34 percent of all prescription medication use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use.
More than 40 percent of older Americans regularly take five or more prescription drugs, and nearly 20 percent take 10 or more, according to a 2020 report from the nonpartisan think tank Lown Institute.
Among survey respondents, 75 percent of take a prescription medication on a regular basis, with an even higher percentage for those ages 65 and older. Of these, over 80 percent take at least two prescription drugs and over 50 percent take four or more.
Nearly nine in ten (89%) adults 65 and older report they are currently taking any prescription medicine. This compares to three-fourths of 50-64 year olds who report taking prescription drugs, half (51%) of 30-49 year olds, and four in ten (38%) 18-29 year olds.
A vital component of health care More than 131 million people — 66 percent of all adults in the United States — use prescription drugs. Utilization is particularly high for older people and those with chronic conditions.
Average number of prescriptions per pharmacy: 60,493 annually, 194 per day.
Among U.S. adults aged 60–79, the most commonly used types of prescription drugs were lipid-lowering drugs (45.0%), antidiabetic agents (23.6%), beta blockers (for high blood pressure or heart disease, 22.3%), ACE inhibitors (21.3%), and proton pump inhibitors (16.9%).
Care of the Geriatric Patient Regardless, polypharmacy puts the elderly at increased risk for multiple adverse outcomes, including adverse drug reactions, falls, hospitalizations, nursing home placement, malnutrition, pneumonia, and death.
However, taking too many prescription medications can be risky. Taking more than five medications is called polypharmacy. The risk of harmful effects, drug interactions and hospitalizations increase when you take more medications.
How many prescriptions does the average American take? Data suggests that among those who take prescription medications, the average number of medications taken is four. More than 131 million Americans take at least one prescription medication.