Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Prescription list shakeup reflects daily stress: expert

Staff writer, with CNA

A National Health Insurance Administration study has found that the use of medicines for bowel function difficulties rose markedly in 2013, overtaking prescriptions for sleeping disorders.

The study showed that treatments for constipation, bloating and stool-softening were among the 10 most commonly distributed medicines nationwide in 2013.

Medication to treat hyperlipidemia — elevated lipid levels in the blood — ranked No. 1, with 450 million pills distributed, followed by hypertension treatment amlodipine at 350 million pills.

Magnesium oxide, a short-term laxative and heartburn relief medication, reached about 300 million pills in 2013.

Prescription treatments for constipation rose by 13.3 percent from 150 million pills in 2011 to 170 million pills in 2013.

“The movement of bowel function medications into the top 10 list reflects the impact of daily stress on people, which has changed dietary and sleeping habits,” administration researcher Chen Shang-pin (陳尚斌) said.

Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital family medicine physician Chiang Po-hsin (江柏欣) said that women and elderly people have been found to be the most susceptible to problems with bowel function.

“Although stimulant laxatives, such as sennosides, are highly effective in remedying the symptoms of constipation, they do not address the root causes of the problem,” Chiang said.

The study showed that treatments for hyperglycemia, hypertension and hyperlipidemia remain the most frequently prescribed medicines nationwide.

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