Audit of prescription data reveals that hydrocodone is by far the most frequently dispensed product in the US.
“The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010,” a report released yesterday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics has some interesting information on medication spending and usage in the US, particularly when it comes to analgesics:
- Spending on narcotic analgesics in 2006 totaled $5.7 billion; spending on narcotic analgesics in 2010 totaled $8.4 billion, a 47% increase.
- Narcotic analgesics were the third-most prescribed medication class (behind only lipid regulators and antidepressants) in 2010, with a total of 244 million prescriptions written. This represents an 11% increase since 2006 (220 million prescriptions).
- The single most prescribed product once again was hydrocodone/acetaminophen (ie, Vicodin), and it wasn’t even close — there were 131 million prescriptions for hydrocodone/acetaminophen dispensed in 2010; simvastatin came in a distant second at 94 million prescriptions. According to the IMS report, hydrocodone/acetaminophen has been the most-prescribed product for at least the last five years, and often by a wide margin.
- That 2010 figure of 131 million prescriptions for hydrocodone/acetaminophen represents a 17% increase over 2006, when there were 112 million prescriptions dispensed for this drug.
- Prescriptions dispensed for oxycodone/acetaminophen (ie, Percocet) have increased from 22.8 million in 2006 to nearly 32 million in 2010, a 40% increase.