10 Most Prescribed Medicines in America


May 25th, 2010

You might think America runs on coffee, but the fact of the matter is, we as a society run on prescription drugs. The billion dollar pharmaceutical industry results in more prescriptions than you can count. Here, we will take a look at the 10 most commonly prescribed medicines in America.

  1. Lipitor: Lipitor is prescribed to fight high cholesterol in patients. At its peak in 2006, it earned $13.7 billion. It is expected to fall in popularity, however, as its statin patent is set to expire next year.
  2. Humira: Humira, sold by Abbott Laboratories and Eisai treats rheumatoid arthritis. It is expected to have annual sales of $10.1 billion by 2016.
  3. Norvasc: Amlodipine, frequently sold as Norvasc from Pfizer, is a high blood pressure medication with 50.9 million prescriptions. It lost its patent protection in 2007, and generics have become popular.
  4. Hydrocodone: The painkiller Hydrocodone with Acetaminophen (APAP) was the most widely prescribed individual medication in 2008, with 124 million prescriptions. Hydrocodone and compounds with Hydrocodone are sold under a variety of trademarks, including Vicodin, Hydroccet, Hycodan, and Norco.
  5. Amoxicillin: Amoxicillin has been a bestseller for years. It’s commonly used by pediatricians for kids, especially ear infections, racking up 49.2 million prescriptions.
  6. Zocor: Zocor and its Simivastatin generics are lipid-lowering agents for cholesterol. This prescription drug helped make Merck a high profile drug company. There were 83 million prescriptions in 2009.
  7. Lisinopril: This drug has 81.3 million prescriptions. Lisinopril, sold under the brand names Prinivil and Zestril, is in a group of drugs called ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and improve survival after a heart attack.
  8. Synthroid: Millions of Americans do not produce enough thyroid hormone on their own, resulting in 66 million prescriptions of Levothyroxine sodium. It is sold under the names Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levorthroid, and others.
  9. Azithromycin: Commonly known as Zithromax, Azithromycin is an antibiotic with 53.8 million prescriptions. It gained popularity because it can be dosed conveniently with little side effects.
  10. Metformin: Metformin, also known as Glucophage, Glumetza, Fortamet, and Riomet, is a mainstay diabetes drug with 52 million prescriptions. It’s trusted as one of the best drugs for lowering blood sugar.

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