As our understanding of medicine has evolved, we've been able to develop drugs to aid with some of the most common medical conditions - from pain and blood pressure drugs to asthma medication, thyroid treatments, and antidepressants.
But which drug is prescribed the most and how frequently? As VisualCapitalist's Omri Wallach details below, sorting the annual prescribed medicines data by the total number of patients highlights how important and prevalent some drugs are in America.
This graphic uses prescribed medicines data from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, released in 2021 for the 2019 calendar year. It also uses supporting drug and health information from MedlinePlus.
The most prescribed drug, atorvastatin (sold under brand Lipitor), was prescribed to 24.5 million people in the U.S. in 2019, or 7.5% of the population. It was one of many statin medications listed, which are used to prevent cardiovascular disease and treat abnormal lipid levels.
In fact, a majority of the most prescribed drugs in the U.S. are used to treat high blood pressure or symptoms of it. That's because 108 million or nearly half of adults in the U.S. have hypertension or high blood pressure.