Top 10 Drugs Prescribed in the U.S.

Medications are prescribed abundantly throughout the United States every day. Just go into any pharmacy and you can see how busy the are as they fill prescriptions as fast as they can. Here's a list of the top ten prescribed drugs in the U.S. How many of these do are you taking?

1. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)

Vicodin is a popular drug for treating acute or chronic moderate to moderately severe pain. Its most common side effects are lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, and vomiting. Vicodin can reduce breathing, impair thinking, reduce physical abilities, and is habit forming.

2. Simvastatin (Generic for Zocor)

Simvastatin is one of the first "statins" (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) approved for treating high cholesterol and reducing the risk of stroke, death from heart disease, and risk of heart attacks. Its most common side effects are headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and muscle pain. Like other statins it can cause muscle break down.

3. Lisinopril (Generic for Prinivil or Zestril)

Lisinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for treating high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and for preventing kidney failure caused by high blood pressure and diabetes. Lisinopril side effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction. ACE inhibitors may cause a dry cough that resolves when the drug is discontinued.

4. Levothyroxine (generic for Synthroid)

Levothryoxine is a man-made version of thyroid hormone. It is used for treating hypothyroidism. Its side effects are usually result from high levels of thyroid hormone. Excessive thyroid hormone can cause chest pain, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, nervousness, headache, and weight loss.

5. Azithromycin (generic for Zithromax, Z-PAK)

Azithromycin is an antibiotic used for treating ear, throat, and sinus infections as well as pneumonia, bronchitis, and some sexually transmitted diseases. Its common side effects include loose stools, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. Rare side effects include abnormal liver tests, allergic reactions, nervousness, and abnormal heart beats.

6. Metformin (generic for Glucophage)

Metformin is used alone or in combination with other drugs for treating type 2 diabetes in adults and children.  The most common side effects of metformin are nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

7. Lipitor (atorvastatin)

Lipitor is a "statin" (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) approved for treating high cholesterol. It also prevents chest pain, stroke, heart attack in individuals with coronary artery disease. It causes minor side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, heartburn, and headache. Like other statins it can cause muscle pain and muscle break down.

8. Amlodipine (generic for Norvasc)

Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker used for treating high blood pressure and for treatment and prevention of chest pain. Its most common side effects are headache and swelling of the lower extremities. Amlodipine can also cause dizziness, flushing, fatigue, nausea, and palpitations.

9. Amoxicillin

Amoxicillin is a penicillin type antibiotic used for treating several types of bacterial infections such as ear, tonsils, throat, larynx, urinary tract, and skin infections. Its side effects are diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, itching, vomiting, confusion, abdominal pain, rash, and allergic reactions.

10. Hydrochlorothiazide

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic (water pill) used alone or combined with other drugs for treating high blood pressure. Its side effects include weakness, low blood pressure, light sensitivity, impotence, nausea, abdominal pain, electrolyte disturbances, and rash.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE: Food and Drug Administration.