New report shows South Carolina’s top prescribed drugs of 2020

S.C. top filled prescription drugs
S.C. top filled prescription drugs(wmbf)
Updated: Dec. 22, 2020 at 9:19 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A SingleCare report is shedding light on the top prescribed drugs in South Carolina this year.

Kris Chiplinski, director of pharmacy for Little River Medical Center, said the top five medications isn’t surprising. He added three of the five on the list are medicines given to their patients at Little River Medical Center at no charge.

Chiplinski said the report shows patients are trying to focus on diseases they may have had pre-pandemic. But he said it does cause a little bit of concern because it’s showing they haven’t seen a shift to other medications that would be able to be more targeted to help treat disease more effectively.

He noted the use of telemedicine is playing a role in what’s being seen. Chiplinski said a couple of the medications listed are often used as primary medications for heart or blood pressure, which can easily be refilled through telemedicine visits.

The top four and five, amoxicillin and prednisone, are used for colds when a patient may not be able to be clinically seen in a doctor’s office, Chiplinski added.

According to SingeleCARE, the most filled prescriptions in the Palmetto State this year were the following:

  1. Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (treats attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. It also improves the ability to pay attention and stay focused on an activity while controlling impulsive behaviors)
  2. Amlodipine besylate (treats chest pain and other conditions caused by Coronary Artery Disease in children and adults. It’s also used to treat high blood pressure)
  3. Lisinopril (treats high blood pressure in children and adults. It’s also used to treat heart failure and to improve survival after a heart attack)
  4. Amoxicillin (penicillin antibiotic that is commonly used to treat many types of bacterial infections)
  5. Prednisone (treats a variety of conditions such as blood disorders, arthritis, breathing problems, cancer, eye problems, and immune system disorders)

While Chiplinski said the top five for South Carolina isn’t surprising, he added the ADHD prescription is a “head scratcher” to see this high on the list.

Health officials say ADHD medicines are more common in the young adult and pediatric population than older populations. Chiplinski added those are the populations they’re seeing not coming to primary care visits most. They are the ones that would need to be prescribed with a face-to-face office visit.

Oftentimes, Chiplinski said, ADHD is first reported to patients’ parents through their teacher. Right now, there’s a lower number of students in the face-to-face classroom setting than in a typical year.

Chiplinski is also seeing another trend locally.

“We’ve noticed an increase in the anti-depressant category and anti-anxiolytic category,” he said. “There’s a lot of anxiousness out there in the population right now with what is happening. This could be due to job loss, pandemic, shifts in parents taking care of children with greater responsibilities.”

In addition, he’s also seeing a shift to the discount drug list. This tells him patients are still receiving their maintenance medications but might not have the ability to buy the higher-end brands.

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