Healthy minds? The Dutch are taking fewer pills than expected


Despite the increase in the size of the population of the Netherlands, and the rise in the number of elderly people, the amount of medicine used by the Dutch last year barely rose, according to figures from drugs usage monitor SFK.

The SFK had expected a rise in prescriptions and medicine usage of 1.5%, in line with the previous five years, but the actual figure was just 0.5%, the AD reported on Tuesday.

Experts told the paper that the difference is likely to be due to increasing awareness of the implications of medicine usage and the phenomenon of ‘deprescribing’.

‘We know now that sleeping pills are pointless because they increase the risk of falls and don’t work in the long term,’ pharmacist Bart van den Bemt told the paper. ‘That makes the cure worse than the problem. And whole groups of people used to take them.’

Groningen University professor Liset van Dijk told the paper that people may just becoming more reluctant to take drugs. In addition, we may be living in more healthy ways, which means we need to take less medicine, she said.

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