M

ore than 4.4 billion prescriptions were filled in the United States last year, and the top 10 were all written for drugs now available in generic versions of pricier brand-name originals.

Nearly half of all Americans are prescribed a drug at any given time. The most common ones, as you might expect, treat the most common chronic conditions — managing high blood pressure, for example, or controlling diabetes. Painkillers are also on the list, carrying with them the risk of substance abuse. But there are some surprises, too.

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