Use of prescribed medicines
This is the first time HSE has reported on use of prescribed medicines among the general population. The results are based on self-reported data of what participants have actually taken, rather than data on what has been prescribed or dispensed.
- 43% of men and 50% of women reported that they had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week.
- Just under a quarter of men and women reported that they had taken at least three prescribed medicines in the last week.
Types of medicine
- The most frequently reported types of prescribed medicine were lipid-lowering medicines (16% of men and 12% women), anti-hypertensive medicines (14% and 15% respectively), and, for women, analgesics and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (12%).
- The increase in frequency of people taking anti-depressants by decreasing income was more pronounced for women than men, from 7% in the highest two income groups to 17% in the lowest.
- The proportion of people who had taken one or more prescribed medicines in the last week increased with age. More than half of those aged 65 and over had taken three or more medicines, and more than a third of those aged 75 and over had taken six or more medicines.
- Prevalence of taking each type of medicine increased with age. For lipid-lowering medicines, the increase in prevalence with age was most sharp for men.
- Almost all participants aged 65 and over who needed help with activities of daily living were taking at least one prescribed medicine and most of them were taking at least three.
- The proportion of people who had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week increased with decreasing income and with increasing area deprivation.