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Table 1 Numbers and class of drugs dispensed to adults in 1995 and 2010

From: The rising tide of polypharmacy and drug-drug interactions: population database analysis 1995–2010

  1995 2010 2010  
No. (%) of patients n = 301,019 No. (%) of patients n = 311,881 Age-sex standardised %* Age-sex standardised relative risk 2010 vs. 1995 (95% CI)
Dispensed 0 drugs 148,828 (49.4) 128,155 (41.1) 42.8 0.87 (0.86–0.87)
Dispensed 1–4 drugs 117,829 (39.1) 114,540 (36.7) 36.4 0.93 (0.92–0.94)
Dispensed 5–9 drugs 29,311 (9.7) 50,972 (16.3) 15.3 1.57 (1.55–1.60)
Dispensed 10–14 drugs 4,481 (1.5) 14,662 (4.7) 4.4 2.92 (2.83–3.02)
Dispensed ≥15 drugs 570 (0.2) 3,552 (1.1) 1.1 5.58 (5.11–6.10)
Dispensed any drug from BNF chapter     
1 (gastrointestinal) 37,813 (12.6) 56,536 (18.1) 17.1 1.36 (1.35–1.38)
2 (cardiovascular) 50,593 (16.8) 85,140 (27.3) 25.2 1.49 (1.48–1.51)
3 (respiratory) 18,368 (6.1) 24,760 (7.9) 7.7 1.26 (1.24–1.28)
4 (central nervous system) 55,920 (18.6) 81,902 (26.3) 25.4 1.37 (1.36–1.38)
5 (infections) 48,610 (16.1) 46,934 (15.0) 14.8 0.92 (0.90–0.93)
6 (endocrine) 26,469 (8.8) 44,695 (14.3) 13.5 1.53 (1.51–1.55)
7 (O&G, and urinary tract) 11,695 (3.9) 23,126 (7.4) 7.4 1.91 (1.87–1.95)
8 (malignancy, immunosuppression) 1,686 (0.6) 3,062 (1.0) 0.9 1.64 (1.54–1.74)
9 (nutrition and blood) 8,634 (2.9) 15,217 (4.9) 4.7 1.62 (1.58–1.67)
10 (musculoskeletal) 26,166 (8.7) 26,185 (8.4) 8.0 0.92 (0.91–0.94)
11 (eye) 8,166 (2.7) 11,726 (3.8) 3.5 1.30 (1.27–1.34)
12 (ear, nose, and throat) 8,633 (2.9) 12,459 (4.0) 3.8 1.34 (1.30–1.37)
13 (skin) 23,345 (7.8) 31,644 (10.1) 9.9 1.28 (1.26–1.30)
Number of BNF chapters dispensed drugs from     
0 148,828 (49.4) 128,155 (41.1) 42.8 0.87 (0.86–0.87)
1 65,584 (21.8) 64,625 (20.7) 20.7 0.95 (0.94–0.96)
2 40,561 (13.5) 45,439 (14.6) 14.2 1.05 (1.04–1.07)
3 22,548 (7.5) 30,129 (9.7) 9.2 1.23 (1.21–1.25)
4 12,581 (4.2) 19,646 (6.3) 5.9 1.42 (1.39–1.45)
5+ 10,917 (3.6) 23,887 (7.7) 7.1 1.97 (1.92–2.01)
  1. *2010 data directly age-sex standardised to 1995 population structure.