Q. 13 - Usual (pre-illness) Number of Prescription Medications

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In the UK, a government survey reports :


"43% of men and 50% of women reported that they had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week. Almost a quarter of men (22%) and women (24%) reported that they had taken at least three prescribed medicines in the last week. This proportion increased with age, with more than half of participants aged 65-74, and more than 70% of those aged 75 and over, having taken at least three prescribed medicines."


In the USA :

"Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic researchers say. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, their study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings."


Those data (not ours) look like this by age and gender :




It would seem that women take more presecribed medications than men, and both take more presecribed medicines as they age. The latter is not surprising.



So we were not surprised to discover daily presecription medication use among our respondent sample.


Yet the majority (40%), before becoming ill, took no presecription drugs.

The next most frequent response (29%), was 2 to 5 such medications per day.




We did not enquire about the specific medications taken before. Such additions make a questionnaire untenable. 

So if we conclude here: No medications was the majority answer. But the actual majority are all those who took medications before, if all amounts each day are combined. And with that answer, some may be surprised, thinking it was less. The government reports from at least two countries, important in terms of number of respondents to the questionnaire, is that this "Before illness" use of prescribed medications, for better and worse, was quite typical.


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