Health issues are among the top social and economic challenges the United States is facing now. Data from a recent Gallup survey shows Americans are facing two health related problems – healthcare and Ebola. While these two issues ranked among the Americans’ top 10 biggest problems, several studies revealed the seven most common health issues US citizens face today. Medscape analyzed the data provided by IMS Health and came up with a list based on the most-prescribed drugs in the country.
Synthroid is the most prescribed drug in the US, with 23 million prescriptions per month. This med from AbbVie’s (ABBV) is used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce adequate hormone. Hypothyroidism is more common among women, especially those aged 60 and above. According to the American Thyroid Association, 2%-3% of Americans have pronounced hypothyroidism, while 10%-15% have a mild version of the disease. About half of the Americans with this condition don’t even know they have it.
2. High Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
AstraZeneca’s (AZN) Crestor ranked second on the list, with 22.9 million prescriptions. This drug helps lower and control cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 99 million Americans age 20 and above have high cholesterol levels, which can cause strokes and heart attacks.
3. Heartburn and GERD
When it comes to treating heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux diseases or GERD, most patients turn to AZN’s Nexium. The “purple pill” took the number three spot in the list. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy estimates that around 20% of Americans have GERD or acid reflux.
4. Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Two of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) products ranked fourth, with more than 17 million prescriptions. Doctors prescribe Ventolin HFA to patients with asthma, while Advair Diskus is used to treat both asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Diovan, a product from Novartis, ranked fifth in the list of most prescribed drugs in the US. This drug is ideal for treatment of high blood pressure. It works by relaxing and widening blood vessels to allow better circulation. Records show that around one-third of American adults are experiencing symptoms, but many of them don’t know they have hypertension.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Sanofi’s (SNY) Lantus Solostar is the most prescribed medication for type 1 and 2 diabetes.Statistics show that about 29.1 Americans had diabetes in 2012.
7. Anxiety and Depression
Eli Lilly’s (LLY) Cymbalta is the seventh most prescribed drug in the United States. This medication helps treat depressive and anxiety disorder.
This list may change anytime; who knows which will take the top spot in the next few years. Researchers and health organizations will keep updating the list to inform the people about the most common health issues and encourage them to be more careful and conscious about their well-being.