The 25 Most Popular Drugs in America

By Dirk Hanson 04/20/11

The rise of cheap generics continues, and the most popular drug in America is, as always, Vicodin.

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Viva La Vicodin!
Photo via luna.typepad.

Cheap generics and Vicodin dominated the list of America’s most popular prescription drugs in 2010, according to the annual IMS Health survey of drug sales. IMS, a healthcare consulting firm, documented Vicodin’s status as Number One in a report released today. “The most popular drug, as in previous years, is the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen — better known by its old brand name, Vicodin,” writes Matthew Herper in Forbes.  “As I wrote last year, Vicodin’s popularity has been constant, even when a panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration recommended it should be pulled from the market because of the danger acetaminophen overdose poses to the liver. The FDA has responded to the concerns by asking manufacturers to limit the amount of acetaminophen in these products.”

Here’s the medicinal Hit Parade (drugs in bold are considered addictive).
1     hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin) pain     
2     simvastatin (Zocor) high cholesterol     
3     lisinopril high blood pressure     
4     levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid) hypothyroid     
5     amlodipine besylate (Norvasc) high blood pressure.     
6     omeprazole (Prilosec) acid reflux     
7     azithromycin (Zithromax) antibiotic     
8     amoxicillin antibiotic     
9     metformin HCL (Glucophage) diabetes     
10   hydrochlorothiazide high blood pressure  
11   alprazolam (Xanax) anxiety     
12    Lipitor (atorvastatin) high cholesterol     
13    furosemide high blood pressure     
14    metoprolol tartrate (Toprol) high blood pressure
15    zolpidem tartrate (Ambien) insomnia     
16    atenolol high blood pressure     
17    sertraline HCL (Zoloft) depression
18    metoprolol succinate (Toprol) blood pressure     
19    citalopram (Celexa) depression     
20     warfarin sodium (Coumadin) blood thinner
21     oxycodone/acetaminophen pain     
22     ibuprofen pain     
23     Plavix (clopidogrel) heart disease     
24     gabapentin (Neurontin)     
25     Singulair (montelukast) allergies

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]