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Chronic Medication Nation: Research Finds Chronic Health Problems Now Afflict More Than Half of All Americans
Date:5/14/2008

- First Time a Majority of Americans Take Medications to Treat Chronic

Health Conditions -

- Younger Adults Show Steepest Rise in Chronic Medication Use -

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., May 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Americans have tipped the scale. For the first time, a majority of the insured population is being treated for a chronic medical condition, raising serious concerns about the health of the nation.

Research released today by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) shows that in 2007, 51 percent of insured Americans were taking prescription drugs to treat at least one chronic health problem. Not only is it now a majority, but many of these patients are on multiple medications. According to the analysis, one fifth of the population used three or more of these chronic drug treatments last year.

"It appears that we have now reached the tipping point where treating chronic diseases and conditions is more common than not," said Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer. "This data does paint a pretty unhealthy picture of America. But there is a silver lining; it does show that people are receiving treatment which can prevent more serious health problems down the road."

While seniors show the highest prevalence of chronic medication use, younger adults are quickly catching up. Surprisingly, nearly half (48 percent) of women ages 20-44 are being treated for a chronic condition, as compared to one third of men their age. Antidepressants are the most commonly used medication among this group, with 16 percent of 20-44 year-old women taking them. This demographic also claimed the sharpest increases in the number of patients on chronic medications, rising more than 20 percen
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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