People in England over the age of 60 years are using twice as many prescription drugs now as they were 10 years ago, new figures released by the NHS Information Centre show.
The statistics on prescriptions dispensed in the community show that people aged 60 or over are now given an average of 42.4 prescribed items a year, up from 22.3 in 1997. The overall number of prescriptions dispensed rose by nearly 60% over this period.
Overall 796 million prescribed items were dispensed in England in 2007, whereas the number was 752 million in 2006 and 500 million in 1997. On average, 15.6 items are prescribed per person each year; 10 years ago the average was 10.3 items. However, the average number of items prescribed to children under 16 years fell in the same period, from 4.9 to 3.9 a year.