Number of Prescriptions in US Rose by 30 Million to 4.02 Billion in 2011

by Kathy Jones on Sep 15 2012 6:15 PM

 Number of Prescriptions in US Rose by 30 Million to 4.02 Billion in 2011
The number of prescriptions taken out by the general population in the United States rose from 3.99 billion in 2010 to 4.02 billion in 2011 with the cost of drugs rising from $308.6 billion to $319.9 billion during the same period, a new report published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience reveals.
Journal Editor-in-Chief Craig W. Lindsley analyzed data on 2011 drugs with a focus on medications for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. So-called antipsychotic medicines — including those used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome and some forms of depression — ranked as the fifth most-prescribed class of drugs by sales. Antidepressants, for conditions that include depression and anxiety, ranked No. 7.

XanaxTM, CelexaTM and ZoloftTM were the most-prescribed psychiatric medicines, with other depression and anxiety medications rounding out the top 10. Two antipsychotics were among the 10 drugs that Americans spent the most on, with AbilifyTM in fourth place. Lindsley explains that while antidepressants continued to be the most-prescribed class of CNS drugs in 2011, prescriptions for ADHD medicines increased by 17 percent and multiple sclerosis medications by 22.5 percent in sales from 2010. While expiring patents on major antipsychotics in the next few years will put pressure on drug makers to innovate, the industry should be heartened by the growth of the number of prescriptions and spending.