1 in 3 Koreans Prescribed Pharmaceutical Drugs Last Year | Be Korea-savvy

1 in 3 Koreans Prescribed Pharmaceutical Drugs Last Year

A bottle of anesthesia drug propofol. (Yonhap)

A bottle of anesthesia drug propofol. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 29 (Korea Bizwire)Last year, one out of every three Koreans was prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, the country’s drug safety watchdog said Thursady.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety revealed that it had confirmed this data by analyzing the status of pharmaceutical drug use reported to the integrated drug management system for 2019.

Last year, 18.5 million patients used pharmaceutical drugs, 36 percent of the nation’s population of 51.85 million.

Among pharmaceutical drug users, women accounted for 13.5 million, or 57.1 percent, and men for 7.79 million, or 42.9 percent. By age, patients in their 50s accounted for the largest share at 21.7 percent of the total.

The most frequently prescribed pharmaceutical drug was propofol, an anesthetic and painkiller. Last year, 8.51 million people took propofol.

Next came the hypnotic sedative midazolam, which was taken by 6.58 million individuals; anti-anxiety drug diazepam, prescribed to 3.25 million people; anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, with 2.63 million prescriptions; and pain reliever pethidine with 2.48 million.

In terms of efficacy, 9.48 million patients were prescribed anesthesia and painkillers, followed by hypnotic drugs, with 8.45 million and anti-anxiety drugs with 6.66 million.

The government sent doctors a letter of “help for safe use” with a separate analysis of big data on painkillers among pharmaceutical drugs.

In order to ensure proper use of pharmaceutical drugs, the ministry provides doctors with the number and usage of patients they prescribed compared to the total usage statistics.

Last year, pharmaceutical painkillers were prescribed to 3.53 million patients, or 6.8 percent of Koreans, which is about one in 15 people.

By gender, 50.6 percent of women and 49.4 percent of men took painkillers. By age group, those in their 50s accounted for 800,000 people, or 23.1 percent.

Among painkillers, pethidine prescriptions accounted for 2.48 million, followed by codeine with 530,000, buprenorphine with 330,000, oxycodone with 270,000, and morphine with 260,000.

Ashley Song (ashley@koreabizwire.com)

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