More than half of Americans — 55 percent — are taking four different prescription medications on average, more than ever before in U.S. history and, by far, the greatest percentage of any country on Earth.
That’s the key conclusion of a new analysis in Consumer Reports that notes the record rate of prescriptions is in addition to daily vitamins, dietary supplements, and other over-the-counter medications taken by tens of millions of Americans.
So, are Americans relying on too many medications in the quest for good health? The answer may lie not in the number of prescriptions, but in an analysis of complex medical conditions and how they are treated.
Emily P. Peron, assistant professor of pharmacotherapy and a clinical researcher at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, said that the challenge is determining who really needs multiple medications and when such drugs may do more harm than good.
“If you have a heart attack you come out of the hospital with at least seven drugs,” she tells Newsmax Health.
Peron, who works primarily with patients age 65 and up, specializes in managing multiple medications. A common problem she sees is patients who continue to stay on medications — or certain dosages — long after they may have out-lived their usefulness.