We're Living in Pill Nation. What Are You On?


This morning on the Today show, NBC’s Tom Costello filed a report about Americans’ dependency on pills. Apparently we’re taking more prescription meds than ever before — 16 million of us are on painkillers; 5 million on sleep aids; 18 million on anti-depressants.

From NBC:

“We seem to be a country that turns to drugs for solutions more than many other industrialized, wealthy countries do,” said Dr. Jerry Avorn, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Harvard’s Avorn says drug advertising is a big part of the problem. In the 1990s when it became legal for drug makers to advertise, the demand for prescription medications skyrocketed, Avorn said.
“That created this sense on the part of many patients that, ‘Oh, I saw that ad on television, I think I should be on that medicine,’” he explained.

It seemed like the story was supposed to convince us that we’re all taking too many prescriptions pills. But for many of us, meds are literal lifesavers, and there’s no way we’d give up the drugs that keep us well and sane. A quick poll of the Jezebel staff revealed we’re all living in the Valley of the Dolls. Everyone’s on some kind of prescription. Here’s the rundown:

Pills we (collectively) take daily:

  • Buproprion XL 150 mg
  • Citalopram 10mg
  • Buproprion XL 300mg
  • Lamotrigine 150mg
  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen
  • Xanax
  • Ventolin
  • Desogen
  • Cymbalta 40 mg

Pills we take, but not necessarily daily:

  • Tylenol-3
  • Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen 10mg/500mg
  • Oxycodone/Acetaminophen 10mg/325mg
  • Adderall 15mg
  • Adderall 30mg
  • Clonazepam .5mg
  • “Emergency Ritalin/Adderall” 15mg
  • Lorazepam .5mg
  • Xanax (+1)
  • Excedrine Back & Body
  • Plan B
  • “Some kind of amazing sleeping pill a friend gave me 4 of last summer (2 left)” ETA: Turns out it’s called Zolpidem, 10mg
  • Cipro/Nitrofurantoin (antibiotics for UTIs)
  • Celebrex
  • Ambien

What about you? What are you on? Any side effects? Anyone find that Celexa makes them pack on weight like there’s gonna be a famine? No? Just me?


Image by Africa Studio/Shutterstock.

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