Researchers at the Mayo Clinic say nearly 70 percent of Olmsted County residents are on at least one prescription medication, and more than half take two.
The findings mirror national prescription drug trends, said Dr. Walter Rocca, co-directer of the Rochester Epidemiology Project.
"If you look at the amount of people suffering of a specific disease, less-traumatic situations like depression, it's a lot more common and bothers a lot more people in the community," Rocca said.
The year-long study was conducted in 2009 and involved about 90,000 Olmsted County residents.
Rocca said the most-common medications are antibiotics, anti-depressants and painkilling opiods. For many, the number of prescriptions increased with a person's age.
"In general, even at the same age, women tended to have more prescriptions than men and this has been suggested before but it was very clear in our study," Rocca said.
Rocca said 20 percent of patients studied took five or more prescription medications.
The Rochester Epidemiology Project is a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center and several southeastern Minnesota counties.
Since 1966, the Mayo Clinic has collected about 600,000 medical records in Olmsted County that have generated thousands of medical studies on a variety of conditions like heart disease and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.