Cholesterol-lowering drugs and antidepressants are the two categories of medications most widely used among patients ages 50 to 64, and use of those medications are likely to increase as people in that age group become eligible for Medicare, according to researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the Olmsted (Minnesota) Medical Center.
Researchers looked at a year’s worth of prescription drug data from clinics in Minnesota, which they said gave a reliable platform for nationwide prescription habits. They found that in the 50-64 age group, 30 percent of men and 22 percent of women took a cholesterol-lowering medication. Among people 65 years and older, 41 percent take cholesterol drugs.
Lipitor and its generic equivalents are the best selling cholesterol-lowering drugs in the United States and the one of the best-selling prescriptions in the world.
Lipitor may be a go-to drug for many senior citizens with high cholesterol levels, but recent studies have raised safety concerns about the medication. The drug has been linked to Type 2 diabetes.
A University of Massachusetts study found that postmenopausal women – particularly those with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 – may be at greater risk for developing the disease while taking Lipitor. Of the 153,840 women evaluated, more than 10,000 had developed Type 2 diabetes by the end of the study.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations and death.