These are the top 25 psychiatric medications by number of U.S. prescriptions dispensed in 2013, according to IMS Health, a global information and technology services company. I’ve also provided their 2011, 2009, and 2005 rankings.
To put the percent changes below into perspective, the U.S. total population rose approximately 1.5 percent from 2011 to 2013. That suggests that anything above a 1.5 percent change was driven by other factors — more people seeking treatment, more awareness and acceptance of seeking treatment for a mental illness, more pharmaceutical advertising and marketing, or some other factor.
The biggest gains were once again in anti-depressant medications and stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The most popular drugs continue to be antidepressants, like Zoloft and Prozac, and anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Ativan.
ADHD drug prescriptions are slowing down from the peak they hit in 2011. For instance, Vyvanse went from a 50 percent rise in 2011 to only a 19 percent rise in prescriptions in 2013. Amphetamine salts also saw a similar loss of momentum, suggesting that prescription rates are finally slowing down for these kinds of drugs.
| Brand name|
|Used for…||U.S. Prescriptions (% change from 2011)|
|Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, PMDD|| 41,416,000|
|Depression, Anxiety|| 39,445,000|
|Depression, Anxiety|| 28,258,000|
|Anxiety, panic disorder|| 27,948,000|
|Depression, Anxiety|| 26,242,000|
|Depression, Anxiety|| 24,920,000|
|Depression, Anxiety, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy|| 18,573,000|
|9.||13.||22.||10.|| Wellbutrin XL|
(bupropion HCL XL)
|10.||12.||9.||6.|| Effexor ER|
(venlafaxine HCL ER)
|Depression, Anxiety, Panic disorder|| 15,796,000|
|Anxiety, Panic disorder|| 14,754,000|
|Depression, Anxiety, Panic disorder|| 14,335,000|
|Bipolar disorder, Depression|| 14,326,000|
|14.||15.||11.||NA|| Amphetamine salts|
|Attention deficit disorder|| 12,785,000|
|Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, irritability in autism|| 12,320,000|
|Attention deficit disorder|| 9,842,000|
|17.||23.||16.||NA|| Concerta ER|
|Attention deficit disorder|| 8,803,000|
|Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression|| 8,747,000|
|19.||18.||NA||NA|| Wellbutrin SR-W|
(bupropion HCL SR W)
|Sleep, Anxiety|| 8,065,000|
|Anxiety, tension|| 8,052,000|
|22.||20.||NA||NA|| Amphetamine salts ER|
|Attention deficit disorder|| 7,925,000|
|Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia|| 5,101,000|
|Attention deficit disorder|| 5,335,000|
If no percentage change is listed, we did not track it in previous years or the percentage was flat. Drugs often slightly alter their formulation over the years and are then re-released as a new version of an existing drug; we generally don’t note the change.
NA – Rank not available for this year.
* – This is not a psychiatric medication, but is often prescribed for a mental health issue.
How This Data is Derived
Information in the National Prescription Audit (NPA) is derived from IMS Health’s Xponent service, one of the most complete, national-level prescription databases in the U.S. Xponent captures roughly 70% Market Share of all prescriptions in the U.S. IMS then uses a patented projection methodology from a stratified and geographically balanced sample to represent 100% Market Share coverage of U.S. prescription activity at retail, mail service, long-term care, and managed care outlets.