Women Use More Drugs Than Perceived

Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004

Experts were surprised when they researched the number of medications and herbal supplements women take.

In their study, the researchers used 567 women from 5 rural clinics who went to see their gynecologist. The results indicated that 92% took prescription medications, 96.5% used OTC medications, and 59.1% took herbal supplements. The sheer volume of prescription drugs used by the patients was astonishing. In the youngest bracket (women under age 38), 26% had taken 4 or more prescription medicines in the past year. In the 35-to- 55 bracket, 45% had taken 4 or more prescriptions, and in the 56- and-older bracket 57% had taken 4 or more prescriptions.

Although this particular survey included only rural women, previous research has shown that usage patterns are quite similar in urban women, noted study author Timothy Tracy, PhD. His findings appeared in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (February 24, 2003).

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