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Report: 1 in 5 US adults on behavioral meds



Published: Wed, November 16, 2011 @ 2:45 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — More than 20 percent of American adults took at least one drug for conditions like anxiety and depression in 2010, according to an analysis of prescription data, including more than one in four women.

The report, released today by pharmacy benefits manager Medco Health Solutions Inc., found that use of drugs for psychiatric and behavioral disorders rose 22 percent from 2001.

The medications are most often prescribed to women 45 and older, but their use among men and in younger adults climbed sharply. In adults 20 to 44, use of antipsychotic drugs and treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder more than tripled, and use of anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax, Valium and Ativan rose 30 percent from a decade ago.

The statistics were taken from Medco's database of prescriptions and is based on 2.5 million patients with 24 months of continuous prescription drug insurance and eligibility.

The company said women are twice as likely as men to use anxiety treatments, as 11 percent of women 45 to 65 are on an anxiety medication. Women are also more likely than men to take antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa, Risperdal, and Abilify, which treat disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. However, among men 20 to 64, use of the drugs has quadrupled over the last decade.


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