About 46 percent of the U.S. population used one or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days. With almost half the population taking drugs, it may be surprising that this figure is a slight improvement from 10 years prior.
The types of prescription drugs Americans use vary by age group. Medicine used to treat asthma was most common among the youngest cohort. For adolescents, between 12 to 19 years old, stimulants to treat attention deficit disorder were most common with about one in 16 adolescents with a prescription. Both young and middle-aged adults used antidepressants the most frequently in the past 30 days. One in nine adults, 20 to 59 years old, has an antidepressants prescription. Older adults, aged 60 and above, had the highest share of drug use at 85 percent. Nearly half of the older population used prescription drugs to combat high cholesterol, while more than one in five use anti-diabetic drugs.