Research shows that the average older adult takes four or more prescription drugs each day, but a whopping 39 percent of seniors take five or more prescriptions each day. While each one was created to treat or manage a specific medical problem, each also comes with its own risks and side effects.
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
Almost 90% of older adults regularly take at least 1 prescription drug, almost 80% regularly take at least 2 prescription drugs, and 36% regularly take at least 5 different prescription drugs. When over-the-counter and dietary supplements are included, these rates are even higher.
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.
Most are admitted to a nursing facility for management of multiple chronic diseases requiring 24-hour nursing care. These individuals are generally older and frailer than the average beneficiary and on average take 8 to 10 medications per day.
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.
Older adults can live stronger, longer by carefully following their doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions regarding medications. 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.
Below are the top 10 medications prescribed to elderly Americans.
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.
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.
The 138,271 actively practicing pharmacists in the U.S. report filling/refilling about 259 prescriptions in an average day.
There are over 20,000 prescription drug products approved for marketing. FDA oversees over 6,500 different medical device product categories.
Warfarin is one of the most common causes of medication-related hospitalizations in older adults. To reduce the risk of serious problems, one may need to apply extra care in monitoring warfarin effect (via the prothrombin blood test) and extra care in checking for interactions when a new drug is prescribed.