In 2002, medication was prescribed or provided at 577.1
million physician office visits, which represents 1.3 billion prescriptions.
The percent of visits at which one or more drugs was prescribed
or provided was slightly higher for females than males (65.5 compared
to 63.9 percent). The overall drug mention rate was similar between
2001 and 2002; however, the rate at obstetrics/gynecology visits
increased 48 percent, due in part to an increase in the discussion
of contraceptives and vitamins.1
The use of medications among females varies by age and drug type.
In 2002, the use of cardiovascular/renal and pain relief drugs among
women increased with age, while respiratory tract drug use decreased
with age. Discussions about central nervous system drugs, including
antidepressives, during physician visits were most common among
women in the middle age groups, with the highest rate occurring
among women aged 25-44 (18.5 percent of office visits). The most
commonly mentioned drug types were cardiovascular/renal drugs among
women 75 and older (59.8 percent of visits). The lowest rate was
for cardiovascular/renal drugs among females under the age of 15
(0.7 percent of visits). Among females under age 15, respiratory
tract drugs were most likely to be discussed (24.4 percent of visits).
1Woodwell DA, Cherry DK. National Ambulatory Medical
Care Survey: 2002 summary. Advance Data from Vital and Health
Statistics, No. 346, August 2004.