Americans with metabolic syndrome account for $4 of every $10 spent on prescription drugs for adults, according to a report released exclusively to the Associated Press by prescription benefit manager Medco Health Solutions.
Annual prescription costs for people 20 and older with metabolic syndrome averaged $4,116 last year, 4.2 times the average amount spent on drugs for that age group, the Medco report said.
The study also showed that adult use of medication for metabolic syndrome – a condition marked by excess abdominal fat, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems -- jumped 36 percent between 2002 and 2004.
Medco reached its findings by examining prescription records from a random sample of 2 million clients.
Metabolic syndrome is caused by the body's inability to use insulin efficiently and is marked by excessive abdominal fat. Patients also have two or more related conditions including high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides and high blood sugar. Many have diabetes or eventually will.
Prevalence of the condition in people over 40 jumped more than 60 percent over the past decade, according to federal health surveys.