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7 in 10 Americans take prescription drugs

Thursday - 6/20/2013, 2:08pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- If you look at 10 people around you, odds are the majority of them will be on prescription drugs.

A new Mayo Clinic study shows 70 percent of Americans take at least one kind of prescription medication.

"About 20 percent are actually receiving five or more types of different drugs," says Dr. Walter Rocca with the Mayor Clinic.

Rocca calls that frequency "amazing."

"There are areas like the use of antidepressant and the area of pain medication where we really want to go deeper," he explains.

Thirteen percent of the population is on antidepressants.

Meanwhile, 13 percent of Americans are taking painkillers that can be highly addictive.

"That's a general problem in the U.S.," says Rocca who insists more study is needed to determine to what extent over prescribing plays a role.

Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions when compared to other demographics.

Mayo Clinic researchers note prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade.

"The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999 to 2000 to 48 percent in 2007, 08," according to the study.

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