Cholesterol-lowering agent leads list of most-prescribed drugs

November 5, 2014

Rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca), a cholesterol-lowering agent, is currently the most-prescribed drug among the 100 most-prescribed and best-selling drugs in the United States. In the past 12 months, new prescriptions and refills for rosuvastatin have been estimated to amount to 23.7 million.

Rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca), a cholesterol-lowering agent, is currently the most-prescribed drug among the 100 most-prescribed and best-selling drugs in the United States. In the past 12 months, new prescriptions and refills for rosuvastatin have been estimated to amount to 23.7 million.

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The second most-prescribed drug is the hypothyroid agent levothyroxine (Synthroid, AbbVie), which closely followed the total for rosuvastatin, at 23.4 million. First in highest sales, however, is the antipsychotic agent aripiprazole (Abilify, Otsuka Pharmaceutical) at an estimated $6.4 billion.

The report from the research firm IMS Health covers the prescribing and sales history of the top 100 US drugs from October 2013 through September 2014. It found that since the calendar year 2012, little change has occurred regarding number of prescriptions and total sales for the 10 top-selling drugs.

The remaining 8 of the 10 top-selling drugs in order of number of prescriptions include proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole (Nexium, AstraZeneca) at 20.7 million, fibromyalgia drug duloxetine (Cymbalta, Eli Lilly) at 19.4 million, asthma drugs albuterol sulfate (Ventolin HFA, GlaxoSmithKline) at 17.5 million and fluticasone propionate/salmeterol (Advair Diskus, GlaxoSmithKline) at 16.6 million, the antihypertensive valsartan (Diovan, Novartis) at 13.1 million, the attention-deficit drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse, Shire) at 10.4 million, COPD drug tiotropium bromide (Spiriva HandiHaler, Boehringer Ingelheim) at 9.6 million, and the insulin glargine injection (Lantus, sanofi-aventis) at 9.4 million.

After number 1 aripiprazole, the other 9 of the 10 top-selling drugs by total sales include esomeprazole at $6 billion, duloxetine at $5.4 billion, the arthritis agent adalimumab (Humira, Abbott Laboratories) at $5.4 billion, rosuvastatin at $5.3 billion, fluticasone propionate/salmeterol at $5.1 billion, arthritis drugs etanercept (Enbrel, Amgen) at $4.7 billion infliximab (Remicade, Janssen Biotech) at $4 billion, multiple sclerosis treatment glatiramer acetate (Copaxone, Teva Neuroscience) at $3.8 billion, and the neutropenia drug pegfilgrastim (Neulasta, Amgen) at $3.5 billion.

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