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Multiple Prescriptions

Mean long lines at drug stores

(HealthDayNews) -- If you ever wondered why that line at your local pharmacy is always out the door, here's a clue.

Seems the use of polypharmacy, which means administering three or more drugs to the same patient, has shot up dramatically, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

When the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md., reviewed the number of prescriptions written for psychiatry patients, researchers found:

  • Between 1974 and 1979, only about 3 percent of patients had at least three drugs prescribed.
  • From 1980 to 1984, the number rose to more than 9 percent.
  • Between 1985 and 1989, almost 35 percent of discharge patients were given three or more drugs.
  • And between 1990 and 1995, the number rose to almost 44 percent.
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