Medicines for high blood pressure and cholesterol top the list of the highest consumed in the Scandinavian country, according to the figures, which says that their use is likely to increase further.
“A general explanation is that the population is getting older, more people need treatment, so more medication is needed,” senior advisor Christian Lie Berg of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet, FI) department for pharmacoepidemiology told newspaper Dagbladet.
The figures, published by the FI's prescription database, show an increase of 17,000 in people using blood pressure medicines in 2016 – a rise of two percent. Medicine for high cholesterol increased in use by three percent, from 530,000 to 546,000 users.
Recent years have also seen an increase in the use of Paracet, a stronger, prescription-only version of Paracetomol.
479,000 people were prescribed Paracet on at least one occasion last year.
General practitioner and professor in social medicine Steinar Westin from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology told news agency NTB that it was necessary to consider whether how much pain people are prepared to endure has gone down.
“We do not want a large part of the population to be on painkillers. The question is whether the threshold for resorting to painkillers has gone down,” Westin said.
Us of most prescription medicines has increased, according to the FI figures, with the exception of antibiotics, which decreased from 251 to 211 users per thousand over the five years – a 16 percent reduction.