most prescribed drugs in usa and canada

The Most Prescribed Drugs in the United States and Canada

Medications are prescribed and bought abundantly in the North America. Do you have any idea which of them are the most popular? Try to guess and compare with lists presented below.

These ratings were compiled using statistical information from Medicinenet, Business Insider,, and

Let’s start with the drugs that are most popular in the USA.

vicodin treatment

Opioids and NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)

Vicodin, an opioid painkiller, has become the most popular drug in America in recent years. Perhaps its unprecedented popularity is associated with the narcotic nature of this drug that.

The most commonly used NSAID in the USA are ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter drug that helps eliminate symptoms associated with inflammation, such as swelling, pain, and fever.


Levothyroxine is a drug that is used to treat hypothyroidism, a common disease in the United States.

The active substance of the drug L-thyroxine – sodium levothyroxine – is a synthetic levorotatory isomer of thyroxine, which in its effect is equivalent to the natural thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. For the human body, there is no difference between endogenous and exogenous levothyroxines.

prednisone prescription


This is a medicine belonging to the group of corticosteroids. It was approved for medical use in the middle of the last century. The medication is indicated for use in the treatment of dermatomyositis, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic vasculitic disorders, ankylosing spondylitis, scleroderma, allergic diseases and some other conditions.


Antibiotics are often an indispensable aid in the treatment of bacterial infections. The most popular antibiotic in the United States is amoxicillin. It helps fight infectious and inflammatory diseases caused by microorganisms sensitive to amoxicillin: upper respiratory tract infections (tonsillopharyngitis, sinusitis, acute otitis media); infections of the lower respiratory tract, genitourinary system, etc.

You might be interested in: Antibiotics and Their Potential Hazards to Potency and Fertility

gabapentin prescription drug


Gabapentin is a powerful helper to combat neuropathic pain and seizures. Americans often use it to treat shingle-associated nerve pain. The anticonvulsant action of gabapentin has been demonstrated in many experimental models of convulsive conditions. The final mechanism of the antiepileptic effect of gabapentin remains unclear today.


Lisinopril is the most used antihypertensive medication in the US. The main mechanism of action of the drug is based on blocking the active zinc-containing domain of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which causes a decrease in the synthesis of angiotensin II and a decrease in the activity of the renin-angiotensin system. This leads to a decrease in blood pressure.

Metformin drug

Diabetes and High-Cholesterol Medications

Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a widely known medicine used to treat high blood chol.

Metformin is a blood glucose level regulator, which is effective in treating diabetes. It is used both for monotherapy and combination therapy.


This is an anti-nausea pharmaceutical. It is used by people after chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. It provides the effect by blocking serotonin. This substance is part of the reason why patients become nauseated.

cialis vs viagra

Viagra and Cialis

Viagra is one of the most famous medicines in the world. This tablet has radically reorganized treatment regimens for erectile dysfunction. Since 1998, men have been given the opportunity of rapid symptomatic treatment of erectile dysfunction, which was difficult to achieve in previous years. Viagra is among the top 200 most prescribed medications.

Cialis is another drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, the main contender of Viagra. The increase in its popularity is associated with a long duration of action in the body, as many men prefer this option. Low dosages of the drug can be consumed every day, which eliminates the need for planning sex. In addition, this therapy can simultaneously treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (such as rapid and / or nightly urination). Cialis as needed provides effects for up to 36 hours after ingestion.

ED pills are very popular, but they are not always bought by prescription, so perhaps specific brand names of these tablets are relatively low in the list of most prescribed drugs.

Top Dispensed Classes of Medications in Canada

Groups of medications are similar to those described above (in terms of indications for administration:

  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • Penicillins with extended spectrum
  • ACE inhibitors, plain
  • Selective beta-2-adrenoreceptor agonists
  • Beta-blocking agents, selective
  • Dihydropyridine derivatives
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Opioids in combination with non-opioid analgesics
  • Other antidepressants

Source: Prescribed Drug Spending in Canada, 2018


As you can see, the most popular medicines in the USA and Canada relate to the treatment of pain, inflammation, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction. Perhaps the list of specific medicines will change over time, but the top list will most likely include the same diseases.