Use of prescription drugs among adults in the United States has drastically increased since the turn of the 21st century, a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association said.
The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and analyzed trends in prescription drug use of approximately 38,000 individuals age 20 and older from 1999 to 2012.
Researchers found that the number of adults taking at least one prescription drug on a daily basis rose from 51 percent during the years of 1999-2000 to 59 percent during 2011-2012. The percentage of those taking five or more prescription drugs roughly doubled, increasing from 8.2 percent to 15 percent.
Some of the drugs that experienced an increase were for conditions commonly found among people who are either overweight or obese. This included medication to treat hypertension and diabetes.
The report also noted an increase in the use of antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which may be due to a change in the way society views depression. Additionally, the popularity of SSRIs could be the result of many generic versions being available in the market.