Thursday, September 27, 2007

Top 10 Prescribed Drugs

Patients are always complaining that they take so many prescription drugs. Most drugs people take are not treatment but are preventing disease and early death. That's why they are taken chronically. (and are such a financial boon for the pharmaceutical industry). The top 10 drugs prescribed by Internists in 2006 are:

1. Lipitor (a statin for high used for diabetes too)

2. Lisinopril (an Ace inhibitor for high blood pressure and diabetes and congestive heart failure)

3. Hydrocodone/APAP (a narcotic pain know it as Vicodin)

4. Atenolol ( a beta blocker used for high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and migraine)

5. Hydrocholorothiazide (a diuretic mainly used for high blood pressure)

6. Levothyroxine (a thyroid replacement)

7. Furosemide (a diuretic called Lasix used for congestive heart failure)

8. Norvasc (a calcium channel blocker used for high blood pressure and angina)

9. Metformin (used for diabetes and polycystic ovary called glucophage)

10. Toprol XL (a beta blocker used for high blood pressure and congestive heart failure)

I was surprised there were no antidepressants or antianxiety pills on the list. Ten years ago, Valium would have been there. Does this mean we are getting more mentally healthy as our vessels and blood pressure deteriorates?


K said...

Is there a difference between an internist and a regular doctor? I ask because while there are plenty of regular doctors who might prescribe an antidepressant, there are still plenty more who would pass that pleasure on to a psychiatrist, I would imagine, and if that doesn't qualify as an internist that might explain why heart medications top the list.

Essentially, does this list cover all prescriptions by all doctors? Or just doctors more likely to prescribe heart medications rather than psychological ones?

Toni Brayer MD said...

It is the top drugs prescribed by Internists. Internists function as primary care physicians and in my experience write a lot of antidepressants but perhaps these medications are prescribed even more!

Jonathan said...

I though another interesting way to look at prescribed drugs would be ranking by dollar sales, so I dug up this look at the top classes of drugs by dollar sales in 2005 (albeit the data is a bit old). The authors were studying the relationship between direct-to-consumer advertising and drug sales, (which is yet another story entirely). In this study antidepressants rank fairly high in terms of revenue.

Here's the article:

K Georgi said...

Can Dr Brayer explain where she got the top ten list of most prescibed drugs by internists?

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This is a perfect list because now I can know what kind of drugs I can take without getting into problems with the police because I like to feel relaxed when I'm at home.

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