Increase in poisonings from opioid painkillers

October 1, 2009

NCHS recently released the report titled “Increase in Fatal Poisonings Involving Opioid Analgesics in the United States, 1999-2006.” This report shows the explosion of fatal poisonings from opioid painkillers over the past 7 years. For example, from 1999 through 2006, the number of fatal poisonings involving opioid analgesics more than tripled from 4,000 to 13,800 deaths. Opioid analgesics were involved in almost 40% of all poisoning deaths in 2006.The differences among states is also striking:


Age-adjusted death rates for poisonings involving opioid analgesics: Comparison of state and U.S. rates: United Stats, 2006

For more information, visit the report at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db22.htm.


Anti-depressant Use

August 10, 2007

CNN recently ran a story that has gained some attention. It is entitled CDC: Antidepressants most prescribed drugs in U.S.

[…]According to a government study, antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. They’re prescribed more than drugs to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, or headaches. CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen discusses the CDC study on antidepressants »

In its study, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in visits to doctors and hospitals in 2005. Of those, 118 million were for antidepressants.

High blood pressure drugs were the next most-common with 113 million prescriptions.

The use of antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs — those that affect brain chemistry — has skyrocketed over the last decade.

Adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods 1988-1994 and 1999-2000.

Between 1995 and 2002, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent, the CDC reported.

The data for this report comes from our flagship publication Health, United States and in the 2006 edition is found at Table 92. This publication is an invaluable resource for anyone writing about health issues. If you are just interested in the drug use data click here.


Ambulatory Care Visits

July 19, 2007

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued a new report, “Ambulatory Medical Care Utilization Estimates for 2005,” which contains information on patient visits to emergency departments, outpatient clinics, and physician offices.

Highlights of the report:

  • There were over 1.2 billion patient visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient clinics, and emergency rooms in 2005.  Over the past decade, rates of visits per population increased for all types of health care settings studied. 
  • In the emergency department, the visit rate for patients with no insurance was about twice that of those with private insurance.
  • Conversely, patient visits to physician offices were higher for individuals with private health insurance compared with uninsured persons.
  • Over 29 percent of all ambulatory care visits were for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and one in four were for preventive care, including check-ups, prenatal care, and post-surgical care.
  • There were 2.4 billion medications prescribed or administered at these visits.

Available for download.


Anti-depressant use by minors

April 17, 2007

Information on the number of prescriptions written to  minors for anti-depressants can be found in Health, United States 2006 at Table 92. (located on page 331 of a very large .pdf file).

Briefly in the period 1995-96 there were 1.9 prescriptions written for anti-depressants for every 100 persons aged 18 and under. By 2003-04 that number was 8.0.  While both boys and girls received anti-depressants at the same rate (1.9) in 1995-96, in the 2003-04 period boys received 9.1 prescriptions per 100 persons and girls received 6.8.

Unfortunately, we did not collect this data before 1995.