Top 10 disease areas by prescription number

Cardiovascular drugs account for a third of prescriptions in primary care, but just a fifth of drug spending, figures from the NHS Information Centre show.

Four of the five most commonly prescribed drugs are used to treat cardiovascular disease (CVD): simvastatin, aspirin, ramipril and bendroflumethiazide.

These four drugs account for almost 13% of all prescription items, but represent just 2% of drug costs, Information Centre data show.

More prescriptions are written for drugs for cardiovascular disease than all the combined prescriptions for medicines used to treat infections, obstetrics, gynaecology, urinary tract diseases and disorders of the respiratory system, nutrition and blood, skin, muscle, bone and joints.

Top 10 disease areas by prescription number
1. Cardiovascular system
277.2 million

 Central nervous system

154.6 million

Endocrine system

77.2 million

 Gastro-intestinal system

68.7 million

Respiratory system

57.8 million


45.4 million
7. Nutrition and blood
40.8 million
8. Skin
38.6 million

Musculoskeletal and joint diseases

30.2 million
10. Obstetrics, gynaecology & urinary-tract disorders
20.3 million

Source: NHS Information Centre

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