The National Center for Health Statistics recently released a report on prescription drug use in the US. Take this 7-question quiz to see how much you know about the latest findings.
Question 1. True or false? In the year 2015-2016, approximately one-third of the US population used 1 or more prescription drugs in the past 30 days.
Answer: B. False - it was more. Prescription drugs were used by 45.8% of the US population in the past 30 days during 2015-2016. Prescription drugs were used in the past 30 days by 18% of children aged 0 to 11; 27% of adolescents aged 12 to 19; 46.7% of adults aged 20 to 59; and 85% of adults aged ≥60.
Question 2. In general, prescription drug use was lower among men (41.5%) vs women (50%) but this differed by age. In which of the above age groups were there no significant differences observed between men and women in prescription drug use? (More than one may be correct)
Answer: B and D. Prescription drug use was the same for men and women among those aged 12-19 years and aged ≥60 years. For children aged 0-11, prescription drug use was higher in boys (22%) vs girls (13.7%). For adults aged 20-59, prescription drug use was lower in men (37.5%) vs women (55.5%).
Question 3. Which of the above was not one of the most commonly used prescription drugs among children aged 0-11 years in the past 30 days?
Answer: B. Antihistamines. Among children in this age group, the top 3 most commonly used drugs were bronchodilators (4.3%); CNS stimulants (3.5%); and penicillins (2.7%).
Answer: C. CNS stimulants. CNS stimulants were used most (6.2%) in this age group. Bronchodilators and oral contraceptives were both used by 3.7% of this age group.
Question 5. Which class of prescription drugs listed above was used least among adults aged 20-59 years?
Answer: C. Lipid-lowering drugs. Antidepressants were the most commonly used drugs in this age group (11.4%), followed by analgesics (8.3%) and lipid-lowering drugs (7.5%).
Question 6. True or false? Among adults aged ≥60 years, Î²-blockers were the most commonly prescribed drugs.
Answer: B. False. In adults aged ≥60 years, lipid-lowering drugs were the most commonly prescribed (46.3%), followed by Î²-blockers (24.8%) and antidiabetic drugs (22.6%).
Question 7. True or false? During the period between 2007-08 and 2015-16, total US prescription drug use declined by approximately 2.5%. The age group with the greatest decrease in prescription drug use during that time was adults aged 20-59 years.
Answer: B. False. The greatest decline in prescription drug use between 2007-08 and 2015-16 was seen among children aged 0-11 years, dropping from 22.4% to 18%. In summary, the most commonly used prescription drugs among children aged 0-11 were bronchodilators; CNS stimulants among adolescents aged 12-19; antidepressants among adults aged 20-59; and lipid-lowering drugs among adults aged ≥60.
Reference: Martin CB, Hales CM, Gu Q, Ogden CL. Prescription drug use in the United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief. 2019;334:1-8.
A new data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics reports on prescription drug use and the drug classes prescribed by age and sex in the US in 2015-2016. The 7 questions below are based on the findings and may challenge your assumptions about the prevalence of health conditions at various stages of life.