GoodRx data shows opioids are top prescription in 11 states: 6 things to know

In 11 states, the top prescription is an opioid painkiller that mixes acetaminophen and hydrocodone or buprenorphine, according to new data from online prescription cost service GoodRx obtained by Kaiser Health News.

GoodRx analyzed the top 10 drugs prescribed in each U.S. state from March 2017 to February 2018.  

Here are six things to know.

1. Norco and Vicodin are the brand names of the opioid painkiller that mixes hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Buprenorphine is an opioid-based medication that can be used to treat general pain or opioid addiction.

2. In 10 states — Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Carolina — the medication mix of hydrocodone and acetaminophen was the No. 1 drug prescribed.

3. In one state, Tennessee, buprenorphine was the top drug prescribed.

4. In 26 states, levothyroxine, which is used to treat hypothyroidism, was the top prescription.

5. Americans fill roughly 4.5 billion prescriptions each year at a cost of more than $323 billion.

6. While the data presents drug prescribing patterns, Geoffrey Joyce, PhD, a director of health policy at the Schaeffer Center at Los Angeles-based USC warns the data can be misleading because it looks at individual drug products rather than large classes of drugs used to treat common medical issues.

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