Mayo: Nearly 70 percent of Americans take prescription drugs

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Mayo Clinic researchers say about seven out of every 10 Americans are taking at least one prescription medication, according to a study published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

MPR reports the 2009 year-long study involving 90,000 Olmsted County residents found that more than 50 percent of participants were taking two drugs and 20 percent were taking five prescriptions or more.

Antibiotics, like penicillin prescribed for infections, were among the most common medications consumed followed by antidepressants and painkilling opioides.

"The second most common prescription in our community was antidepressants, so that does suggest that mental health conditions are a huge issue," study author Dr. Jennifer St. Sauver said. "This may be an area we should really focus on."

St. Sauver says overall, women got more antidepressant prescriptions than men. Nearly one in four women ages 50-64 were prescribed antidepressants.

Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade, Mayo says. A similar 2007-2008 study found that 48 percent of participants took at least one prescription drug.

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