Leading chemical drugs dispensed in England 2018, by items

Atorvastatin was the top dispensed chemical drug in England in 2018 with approximately 41.8 million items supplied. This drug is only available via a prescription in the United Kingdom and is used to lower the cholesterol of individuals who suffer from high cholesterol. Thus, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes in the process. The second most dispensed drug in this year was Levothyroxine Sodium which is used to treat those with an underactive thyroid gland, otherwise known as hypothyroidism.

The problem with cholesterol

High cholesterol is classed as having a cholesterol level in the blood supply higher than 5.0 mmol/l. High levels of cholesterol in England are particularly prevalent within people aged 55 and older. In 2016/17, there were approximately 82 percent of women and 58 percent of men aged 55 to 59 years were classed as living with high cholesterol. The amount of people living with excess levels of cholesterol in England can indicate a reason for Atorvastatin being the most dispensed drug in England.

Dangers of heart disease

As mentioned, another result of high cholesterol is the increased risk of heart disease. Although the number of people diagnosed with coronary heart disease has been generally decreasing since 2012. In addition, the mortality rate from heart disease in the UK has been declining since 2000, accounting for 108 deaths per 100,000 population in 2016.

Leading chemical drugs dispensed in England in 2018, by items

Number of items dispensed in millions
Atorvastatin 41.8
Levothyroxine Sodium 32.2
Omeprazole 31
Amlodipine 29.1
Ramipril 28.6
Lansoprazole 25.5
Simvastatin 24.3
Bisoprolol Fumarate 23.6
Colecalciferol 23.6
Aspirin 23.4
Metformin Hydrochloride 21.8
Salbutamol 21.6
Paracetamol 18.5
Co-Codamol (Codeine Phos/Paracetamol) 15.2
Sertraline Hydrochloride 14.8
Citalopram Hydrobromide 14.1
Amitriptyline Hydrochloride 13.5
Furosemide 11.9
Influenza 10.3
Bendroflumethiazide 10
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Release date

March 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Chemicals have been grouped and so may be used in more than one therapeutic area.

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Statistics on "Top pharmaceutical drugs"

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