What are the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States?

What are the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States?

America’s Most Prescribed Drugs

The use of prescription drugs is increasing in the United States. From 1997 to 2016, the number of prescriptions rose from 2.4 billion to 4.4 billion, an 85 percent increase. This trend indicates the popularity of prescription medicines. Antibiotics, analgesics, antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, high blood pressure drugs, steroids, and diabetes medications are among the most commonly prescribed drugs.

Prescription Drugs

The most popular medications are commonly found in households across the country. Long-term prescriptions lasting more than 90 days have also increased, partly due to the introduction of new drugs. The popularity of prescription medicines is expected to continue growing in the coming years.


This medication, known by its brand names Xanax and Nivaram, is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. It belongs to the class of drugs called Benzodiazepines, which work by affecting brain chemicals to help relax the central nervous system. Doctors typically prescribe it for short-term use due to the risk of dependency or addiction.


Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone used for the treatment of opioid addiction. While it contains an opioid substance that can be addictive, the presence of Naloxone blocks its effects. Buprenorphine helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and can also be used for pain relief. However, combining this medication with alcohol or similar substances can be dangerous.


Also known as Omeprazole and Losec, Prilosec is prescribed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers, and prevention of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. It is available in tablet and liquid form for oral or injection use. Prilosec is more common and less expensive than Prevacid and Nexium, and lower dosages can be buyd without a prescription.


Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is an anticonvulsant used to treat partial seizures, neuropathic pain, hot flashes, and restless legs syndrome. It is particularly effective in relieving pain caused by postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and central neuropathic pain. Common side effects include dizziness and sleepiness.


Metformin is often the first choice for treating type 2 diabetes. It increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and lowers blood sugar levels. This medication is well-tolerated and suitable for both adults and children, serving as an alternative to injections for many individuals.


Prednisone is a glucocorticoid medication that suppresses the immune system and reduces inflammation. It is prescribed for conditions such as asthma, rheumatologic diseases, COPD, Chron’s disease, allergies, eye problems, symptoms of cancer, and immune system disorders. Common side effects include bone loss, muscle weakness, and thrush.


Adderall is a combination medication containing amphetamine and salts. It is primarily used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Adderall affects brain chemicals to improve focus and can cause feelings of euphoria and increased wakefulness.

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