Monday, November 5, 2007

More Young Adults Take Anticholesterol, Hypertension Medications, Report Finds

The percentage of young adults who take anticholesterol and hypertension medications has increased significantly in recent years, according to a report released on Tuesday by pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions, the AP/Washington Times reports.

According to the report, the percentage of adults ages 20 to 44 who took anticholesterol medications increased from 2.5% in 2001 to more than 4% in 2006, a 68% increase. About 4.2 million young adults took anticholesterol medications in 2006, the report found.

In addition, the report found that the percentage of young adults who took hypertension medications increased from 7% in 2001 to more than 8% in 2006, a 21% increase. About 8.5 million young adults took hypertension medications in 2006, according to the report.

In comparison, the percentage of adults older than age 65 who took anticholesterol medications increased by 52% from 2001 to 2006, and the percentage of seniors who took hypertension treatments increased by 9.5%, the report found. About half of seniors took anticholesterol medications in 2001, and more than one-fourth took hypertension treatments, according to the report.

Some experts attributed the results of the report to increased rates of obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol among young adults. In addition, they said that more physicians have begun to promote use of anticholesterol and hypertension medications among young adults as a preventive measure.

American Heart Association President Daniel Jones said, "This is good news, that more people in this age range are taking these medicines."

Robert Epstein, chief medical officer for Medco, said, "It was a surprise to us," adding, "Maybe the fact that we're seeing more young people with high cholesterol and blood pressure is indicative of the epidemic of obesity and overweight that we're seeing in this country" (AP/Washington Times, 10/30).

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