Doctors prescribe many treatments for different conditions. The most common prescription medications include lisinopril, levothyroxine, and atorvastatin.

The most common medications doctors prescribe in the United States reflect the conditions they diagnose most often, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Keep reading to learn more about the 10 most common medications healthcare professionals prescribe in the United States.

According to a 2018 paper, doctors in the U.S. prescribe the following 10 drugs more often than others:

The following sections describe each drug in more detail.

Lisinopril is the generic drug name for Zestril. It is a blood pressure medication in the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor group of drugs.

By blocking the ACE, lisinopril blocks the enzyme angiotensin I from converting to angiotensin II. Without angiotensin II, aldosterone, a hormone that regulates salt and water levels, remains inactive. Doctors call this chemical process the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.

When lisinopril blocks this system, the body’s blood volume drops, and blood vessels relax. This helps lower blood pressure.

Doctors prescribe lisinopril to treat high blood pressure in adults and children 6 years old and older. People may also take lisinopril with other medications if they have heart failure. Doctors may also prescribe the drug for someone who has experienced a heart attack.

People with hypothyroidism take levothyroxine (Synthroid). This medication is an artificial form of thyroxine (T4), a hormone that comes from the thyroid gland. T4 is low in people with hypothyroidism. Doctors may prescribe levothyroxine to adults and children, including newborns.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approves using levothyroxine for pituitary thyrotropin suppression in people with certain forms of thyroid cancer. Pituitary thyrotropin suppression helps prevent the growth of cancer cells.

Statin therapies, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), are the first-line treatment option for high cholesterol.

They work by modifying how much cholesterol the body makes in the liver. Atorvastatin blocks enzymes in the liver responsible for making cholesterol.

Doctors prescribe atorvastatin along with a nutritious diet for many reasons, including:

Metformin (Glucophage) is a diabetes medication. Doctors usually prescribe it as a first-line treatment option for people with a new diagnosis of the condition. This medication helps manage diabetes in several ways, including lowering how much sugar the liver produces.

Additionally, it lowers the amount of sugar the intestines absorb. Metformin also makes insulin more sensitive to circulating sugar. With diabetes, the body’s insulin does not function well, but metformin can help improve its function.

Simvastatin (Zocor) is another statin drug. It works in the same way as atorvastatin, and doctors prescribe it for the same reasons.

In comparison with atorvastatin, doctors usually prescribe simvastatin for nighttime use. However, both drugs share drug interactions. Additionally, people should not take simvastatin with gemfibrozil (Lopid) because of the risk of a severe muscle disorder called rhabdomyolysis.

Omeprazole (Prilosec) is a proton pump inhibitor. A proton pump inhibitor lowers the amount of acid that the cells in the stomach lining produce.

It is available as a prescription drug and as an over-the-counter medication at a lower dose. Doctors prescribe omeprazole for many gastrointestinal conditions, such as:

For H. pylori treatment, doctors also prescribe antibiotics.

Another class of blood pressure medications that doctors often prescribe is calcium channel blockers. These drugs help relax blood vessels and lower the pressure within them.

Doctors use amlodipine to treat:

Another class of blood pressure medications is beta-blockers. Metoprolol (Lopressor) is a beta-blocker that doctors use to treat:

The drug works by blocking beta receptors in the heart. Metoprolol decreases the amount of blood the heart pumps out, also known as cardiac output. It also helps reduce the stress on the heart by lowering the heart rate.

A common pain medication that doctors prescribe is a combination pill of acetaminophen (Tylenol) and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opioid that blocks the mu-receptors in the body that control feelings of pain.

However, because of its hydrocodone content, there is a concern regarding substance misuse.

Doctors may prescribe acetaminophen and hydrocodone for moderate to severe pain after surgery or trauma. People with pain from cancer may also experience relief with this combination.

Sometimes, doctors may prescribe acetaminophen and hydrocodone to help someone stop coughing.

Albuterol (Ventolin) is a drug available in a pressurized spray inhaler. A person takes the medication via oral inhalation.

The drug reduces bronchospasm, which occurs when the muscles around the airways leading to the lungs, or bronchi, tighten. This makes it difficult to take full breaths.

Albuterol works by activating beta-2-adrenergic receptors in the bronchi of the lungs. This activation leads to the relaxing of the muscles around the bronchi and an opening of the airways.

Doctors may prescribe an albuterol inhaler to treat or prevent bronchospasms in adults and children with obstructive airway diseases such as asthma. Some people use an albuterol pump if they have exercise-induced asthma. Individuals who cannot use an albuterol inhaler can inhale the albuterol solution using a nebulizer device.

The 10 most common medications doctors prescribe in the U.S. include atorvastatin, amlodipine, and metformin. These highly prescribed drugs reflect the health problems that doctors commonly diagnose in the country.

Learn more about common medications with our Drugs and Medications A-Z hub.