Metabolic Syndrome Takes Toll on Health, Wallet

JULY 01, 2005

According to a recent study, $4 of every $10 spent on prescription drugs for adults in America is spent by patients with metabolic syndrome—a condition marked by high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol problems, and larger waistlines. The study showed that adult use of medication for the syndrome jumped 36% between 2002 and 2004. Yearly costs of prescriptions for people aged 20 and over with the syndrome averaged $4,116 in 2004, 4.2 times more than the average amount spent on medication for that age group, according to Medco, the prescription benefit manager that ran the study. Researchers reached their findings by studying the prescription records of a random sample of 2 million clients.

Federal health surveys show that the prevalence of the syndrome in people over 40 jumped 60% in the last decade alone. People with the syndrome are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, and more than 3 times as likely to die early from those causes.