Most Commonly Prescribed Medicines

The most commonly prescribed medicines in the U.S. can give some insight into the most common health concerns and conditions experienced there. Changes in prescription rates can be indicative in changes of the underlying health concerns facing Americans. This is a list that has been compiled of the top ten prescription drugs that American doctors prescribe the most to their patients using the most recent data available from 2010. It is as follows:


Prescriptions for Hydrocodone, including those combined with acetaminophen, top the charts in terms of number of prescriptions per year with 131.2 million prescriptions. This popularity could be attributed to its multipurpose nature, as it can be used to effectively treat many different conditions, or as a general painkiller for misunderstood chronic pain or not-yet diagnosed conditions.

Generic Zocor or Simvastatin

This generic cholesterol-lowering statin drug was prescribed 94.1 million times in 2010. This is in line with the increased level of cholesterol problems that have been seen in Americans in recent years. Of particular interest with this drug is the fact that it vastly beat out its name-brand competitor in number of overall prescriptions.


Also known by the names Prinivil and Zestril, Lisinopril is a blood pressure drug which doctors prescribed to their patients 87.4 million times in 2010.

Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium)

Another generic drug beating out its competition, this is a synthetic thyroid hormone with over 70.5 million prescriptions.

Generic Norvasc (amlodipine besylate)

With 57.2 million prescriptions in a year, the generic Norvasc is an angina and blood pressure treatment drug ranking in at number 5 on the top ten list of the most prescribed drugs of the year 2010.

Generic Prilosec (omeprazole)

Prilosec is an antacid drug that has been prescribed 53.4 million times, though that number could be much greater as it does not include over-the-counter sales.

Azithromycin (brand names include Z-Pak and Zithromax)

This drug is an antibiotic that has been prescribed to patients 52.6 million times.


Amoxicillin is another antibiotic drug that comes in in the rankings just behind Azithromycin at 52.3 million prescriptions.

Generic Glucophage (metformin)

Second to last in the top ten list is the generic version of glucophage, which is a diabetes drug. Research seems to indicate that this number will only increase as more and more Americans develop the disease due to various factors such as obesity and elements of the standard American diet. In 2010, the number of prescriptions totaled 48.3 million.


At the bottom of the top ten list, there is Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a water pill used to lower blood pressure, another health epidemic that is on the rise in the United States. In 2010, it was prescribed 47.8 million times.