One of every 10 Americans was prescribed at least 1 gastrointestinal (GI) medication on an outpatient basis in 2007 compared with 1 of every 15 Americans in 1997, according to a recent report from the US Department of Health and Human Services. A 60% rise in the number of Americans who were prescribed GI agents accompanied a 170% increase in total expenditures on these medications, which was $18.9 billion in 2007 compared with $7 billion in 1997 (adjusted to 2007 dollars). The average price per GI drug purchase increased during this period from $90 to $120 for a 33% increase. The overall inflation rate for this 10-year stretch was 29%. These findings emerged from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the National Center for Health Statistics. Expenditure and purchase estimates for prescription medications include refills as well as the original script.
Americans aged 65 years and older were the heaviest users of GI medications. In 2007, 26.6% of this age group were prescribed a GI medication. In contrast, just 8.9% of Americans aged 18 to 64 years had at least 1 such prescription. That rate among Americans aged 17 years and younger was 2.5%.
Bonnie - one in 10 is beyond shocking. Use is highest in the elderly population, which has the most to lose from taking them. I have expounded incessantly about the issues with GI medications, especially long-term use.