Dr. Megan Johnson McCullough – Doctors in the United States prescribe medications to those patients in need to help treat and address medical conditions of many, many types. The most common prescriptions are those to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The following are a list of medications, in no particular order, that are the most prescribed by doctors in the U.S.
- Levothyroxine (Synthroid) – This is for people with hypothyroidism. It is an artificial form of thyroxine (T4) which is low in persons with hypothyroidism. It is also prescribed to help thyroid cancer by preventing the growth of certain cancel cells.
- Lisinopril (Zestril) – This is a blood pressure medication. It falls under the ACE medications (which block angiotensin I (type of enzyme)) from converting to angiotensin II. The enzyme angiotensin II is needed to activate the hormone called aldosterone that regulates salt and water levels. Lisinopril blocks this system from happening so that the body’s blood volume drops making the blood vessels relax and blood pressure drops.
- Metformin (Gluophage) – This is a diabetes medication that is usually the initial medication prescribed to newly diagnosed diabetic persons. It helps lower the amount of sugar the liver produces. It also lowers the amount of sugar the intestines can absorb. It makes insulin more sensitive which actually improves its functioning.
- Atorvastatin (Lipitor) – This is a statin used to treat high cholesterol. It monitors how much cholesterol the liver makes by blocking the cholesterol producing enzyme. It is also used to lower triglyceride levels and to overall lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in people who have diabetes.
- Omeprazole (Prilosec) – This is a proton pump inhibitor that lowers the amount of acid in the lining of the stomach. It is used to treat gastrointestinal conditions (GI) such as heartburn and peptic ulcer disease.
- Simvastatin (Zocor) – This is another type of statin. It is usually prescribed for nighttime use in comparison to atorvastatin (the aforementioned statin).
- Metoprolol (Lopressor) – This is a beta-blocker which is another class of blood pressure medications. It is used to treat heart failure, angina, heart attack, atrial fibrillation, and high blood pressure. It blocks beta receptors in the heart by decreasing the amount of blood the heart pumps out (cardiac output). It also lowers the heart rate which reduces stress to the heart.
- Amlodipine (Norvasc) – This is another type of blood pressure medication that is a calcium channel blocker. It is able to relax the blood vessels to then lower the pressure in them.
- Albuterol (Ventolin)- This is a spray inhaler that reduces bronchospasm. Persons who need this medication are experiencing the muscles around the lungs being tight, so it is hard to take full breaths. This medication activates the beta-2-adregenic receptors in the bronchi which relaxes the muscles around the bronchi to open the airways. It is prescribed to people with asthma and other obstructive airway diseases.
- Acitemenophine and hydrocodone – Most people know acetaminophen by the name Tylenol. This medication is a combination of Tylenol and hydrocodone which blocks pain receptors. It is prescribed for pain medication normally after some type of medical procedure or surgery. It is controversial due to instances of misuse.
These medications are indicative of the most common medical conditions in the U.S. Medication is meant to temporarily address problems, with the aim to help alleviate symptoms or preventing progression of the issue at hand. We should all strive to live a healthy lifestyle as best we can and to control what health factors we can without the use of medication until necessary.
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