The most common prescriptions in Scotland and how much they cost

ByDonald L. Leech

Sep 29, 2022

GPs in the North and North East prescribed £23million worth of medicine to patients in June – but what was the most common prescription where you live in Scotland?

We have reviewed the latest prescribing data for an overview of all items offered to patients in the Grampian, Highlands and Islands Health Boards.

As there is a slight lag in the release of figures, the latest figures cover all GPs in the region as of June 2022.

June 2022: Key figures

Total prescriptions: 1,959,907

Total cost: £23,260,769.47

Over 93 million individual pills were prescribed during the month.

Most common orders: Omeprazole (52,149 prescriptions). Used to lower stomach acid levels to treat heartburn and indigestion.

Most individual items: Paracetamol (3,885,336 tablets). Used to relieve pain.

Total prescriptions: 93 432 409

Most expensive total cost: Freestyle Libre 2 sensor (2,398 items – £250,985). For the management of diabetes.

What were the most common ordinances in my area?

Omeprazole topped the rankings in all the North and North East Scottish health boards we looked at.

Painkillers like paracetamol, co-codamol and aspirin were also among the most prescribed.

The top ten for Grampian remained unchanged from May.

Thousands more asthma inhalers were prescribed in the Highlands region compared to Grampian – ranking second for the month.

Co-codamol was the third most prescribed drug in the north, but ranked 18th and 19th respectively in Grampian and the islands’ health boards.

There has been a lot of movement in the Highlands top ten this month. Fluoxetine was the biggest climber, jumping 16 places to ninth place.

The number of prescriptions for Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles was obviously lower than for their mainland counterparts.

But atorvastatin, a drug used to lower cholesterol levels, was more common than the others.

Prescriptions for the 20mg pills ranked third in the islands, compared to eighth in Grampian and seventh in Highland.

For more information on why paracetamol is so commonly prescribed, see our guide to the issue here.

What were the most expensive items prescribed in the region?

In recent years, prescription costs in Scotland have fallen, with more emphasis on health boards ordering only the stock they need.

Public prescription data shows that these were the most expensive items prescribed by GPs in the region in June 2022:

  • Sandostatin: Three doses at £998.41 each. Used to fight growth hormone producing tumors
  • Paliperidone: One dose at £942.21. Used in the treatment of schizophrenia.
  • Lanreotide: Eight doses at £937 each. A treatment for rare carcinoid treatments.
  • Somatuline: 55 doses at £937 each. Fights acromegaly, where bones and body tissues grow too quickly.
  • Olatuson: Three doses at £898.57 each. Treatment of acromegaly or carcinoid tumors.

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[The most common prescriptions in Scotland and what they cost]