• 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%).

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