This report uses data from 2015 and 2016 to examine the use of prescribed medicines by adults living in their own homes in England. It provides information on the number of prescribed medicines taken in the last week, and the proportion of the population taking specific classes of medicines, by socio-demographic and health factors.
- In 2015/16 48% of adults had taken at least one prescribed medicine (not including contraception or nicotine replacement therapy) in the last week. This increased with age from 19% of young adults aged 16 to 24 to more than 90% of those aged 75 and over. The proportion of adults taking one or more prescribed medicines was similar to 2012/13.
- In 2015/16, 24% of adults were taking three or more medicines.
- The prevalence of prescribed medicine use was higher in more deprived areas: 54% of adults in the most deprived fifth of areas took at least one medicine, compared with 45% in the least deprived areas.
- Prescribed medicine use was much higher than average among those with self-reported bad or very bad general health (85%), a limiting or non-limiting longstanding condition (76% and 71% respectively), or probable mental ill health (63%).
- The most commonly used prescribed medicines were antihypertensives (by 15% of adults) and lipid-lowering medicines (14%); followed by proton-pump inhibitors for reducing acid in the stomach (11%); analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (11%); and antidepressants (10%).