Prescription drug use increases - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Prescription drug use increases

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- More Americans are taking drugs to treat some form of mental illness, according to the latest data.

The number of adults taking drugs to treat mental illness went up 73 percent since 1996, the number of children went up 50 percent.

Experts say improved insurance coverage, and more primary care doctors prescribing the drugs, has driven the increase.

15 percent of elderly adults now take a psychiatric drug to treat either depression or dementia. This number is two times higher than it was in 1996.

Experts are concerned because the number of elderly adults who have access to specialist care is going down.

Many of the antipsychotic medicines given to elderly adults have black box warning labels because of the increased risk of death.  


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