This Is the Average Number of Rx Meds Americans Take Daily

Ever feel like you’re taking more medications than the average person? Do you look at your pill dispenser and think it looks a bit full? It may help you to know how many pills other people across the country are taking. That’s where we come in. Here’s a look at how many prescription meds the average American takes.

For starters, we’re just talking about prescriptions

A person holds two small pills in their hand.

Are you taking too many prescription medications? |

We aren’t counting the little bottles of aspirin that you can buy without a prescription. And we certainly aren’t counting vitamins and supplements. (Especially since many supplements don’t have to get approved by the FDA before they are put on grocery store shelves.)

These are the most common Rx meds …

An open bottle of pills spilled on a black background.

You might have these in your medicine cabinet. |

In the wide world of prescription drugs, painkillers are the most common. A list of the 50 most prescribed drugs in the country puts blood pressure meds like Lipitor towards the top. But anxiety med Xanax and painkiller Vicodin have become increasingly popular over the years.

… and the conditions they fight

An orange prescription bottle laid out on a table with white pills spilled out in front.

Make sure you read your labels and instructions carefully. | Txking/iStock/Getty Images

As previously stated, blood pressure and anxiety are common reasons for taking prescription medications. But painkillers, antibiotics, and antidepressants are still the most commonly prescribed. This suggests that mental health is a main issue that Rx medications are being prescribed for, along with chronic pain.

There is a gender difference

A woman drinking pills and water.

Studies show that women and men are likely to take certain medications. | CentralITAlliance/iStock/Gettty Images

The most common medications have different levels of popularity depending on the gender of the patient. For example, men are more likely to take blood pressure and cholesterol medication. Antidepressants, on the other hand, are more commonly taken by women. Gender doesn’t have an effect, however, on the rise of prescription drug use in the country …

The average American …

Pile of prescription pills spilling from open pill bottle.

Are you a regular at your local pharmacy? | Andromachi/iStock/Getty Images

A study published by Mayo Clinic a few years back reveals that 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication. The same study shows that 20% of Americans are on five or more medications. It was also revealed that prescription drug use among Americans has steadily increased over the past 10 years.

America vs. the world

White pills in a pile on top of a dark black background.

Americans are more likely than others to take painkillers. |  John Moore/Getty Images

Not surprisingly, America consumes most of the world’s supply of painkillers. “If you include Canada and Western Europe, it (consumption of global opioid supply) increases to 95%, so the remaining countries only have access to about 5% of the opioid supply,” Vikesh Singh from Johns Hopkins University told CNBC in 2016.

The opioid crisis

Large white pills outside an orange and white prescription pill bottle.

Many can become addicted to opioids. | BackyardProduction/iStock/Getty Images

The growing use of prescription opioids has also caused a rise in addiction and death. Shocking data published in the New York Times earlier this year reveals that prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of death among people under the age of 50 in the U.S. It is likely that the number of overdoses exceeded 59,000 in 2016, the data said.

Getting help

Doctor giving patient pills

You can get help if you need it. |

If you are concerned that you are taking too many prescriptions drugs, there is help out there. There are more than 14,000 drug treatment centers across the country that can offer alternative methods to prescription drug use.