Top 100 Most-Prescribed Medications in UK Hospitals

We take a look at the 100 most-prescribed medication in hospitals around the UK.

We take a look at the 100 most-prescribed medication in hospitals around the UK.

We have created a list of the most popular prescribed medications in UK hospitals. This list if by no means definitive or exhaustive and is designed as a learning tool only. The information has been taken from the NHSBS audit of prescribed medications. 

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Some items may appear in more than one category as they have primary and secondary usages i.e. Amitriptyline is an antidepressant but is also used as analgesia for chronic pain.

Analgesics

Analgesics or painkillers are drugs that help relieve pain and usually fall into one of several categories; opioids, nonopioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) and ‘other’.

  • Paracetamol.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • Co-codamol (paracetamol and codeine mix)
  • Codeine.
  • Tramadol.
  • Morphine.
  • Diclofenac.
  • Asprin.
  • Naproxin.
  • Dihydrocodeine.
  • Oxycodone.
  • Nefopam.
  • Gabapentin.
  • Fentanyl.
  • Ketamine.

Long and short acting variants such as Zomorph, Oxycontin and MST should also be considered.

Antiarrhythmics

Antiarrhythmics are used to suppress abnormal rhythms of the heart (cardiac arrhythmias), such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.

  • Bisoprolol.
  • Atenolol.
  • Digoxin.
  • Amiodarone.
  • Adenosine.
  • Diltiazem.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to help the body fight infection and these are usually administered orally or intravenously (IV). They usually fall into one of several categories; penicillins, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, tetracyclines, macrolides and fluoroquinolones.

  • Amoxicillin.
  • Flucloxacillin.
  • Meropenem.
  • Vancomycin.
  • Gentamycin.
  • Clarithromycin.
  • Co-amoxiclav.
  • Doxycycline.
  • Ceftazidime.
  • Piperacillin / Tazobactam (tazocin).
  • Ciprofloxacin.
  • Levofloxacin.
  • Cephalexin.
  • Cefuroxime.
  • Clindamycin.
  • Trimethoprim.
  • Nitrofurantoin.

Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants, commonly referred to as blood thinners, are chemical substances that prevent or reduce coagulation of blood, prolonging the clotting time.

  • Warfarin.
  • Rivaroxaban.
  • Apixaban.
  • Enoxaparin.
  • Funderparinex.
  • Heparin.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are a diverse group of pharmacological agents used in the treatment of both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures.

  • Sodium valproate (Epilim).
  • Phenytoin.
  • Levetiracetam (Keppra).
  • Gabapentin.
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazapam.
  • Lorazepam.
  • Carbamazepine.

Antidepressants

Antidepressents are drugs used for the treatment of depressive disorders and usually fall into one of the following categories; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).

  • Citalopram.
  • Fluoxetine.
  • Amitriptyline.
  • Sertraline.
  • Venlafaxine.
  • Mirtazapine.
  • Trazodone.

Antiemetics

Antiemetics are drugs used to treat vomiting and nausea and are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anaesthetics and chemotherapy directed against cancer.

  • Cyclizine.
  • Ondansetron.
  • Metoclopramide.
  • Prochlorperazine.
  • Levomepromazine.

Antihypertensives

Antihypertensives are used to treat hypertension and usually fall into one of several categories; angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and beta-blockers. You should also see Diuretics. 

  • Ramipril.
  • Doxazosin.
  • Candesartan.
  • Losartan.
  • Lisinopril.
  • Atenolol.
  • Bisoprolol.
  • Amlodipine.
  • Diltiazem.
  • Nifedipine.

Antihyperglycemics

Antihyperglycemics are used in the treatments of raised blood sugars, typically in diabetic patients.

  • Metformin.
  • Insulin.
  • Gliclazide.

Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are used to help make breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in the lungs and widening of the bronchi.

  • Salbutamol.
  • Ipratropium.
  • Tiotropium.
  • Theophylline.

Diuretics

Diuretics are drugs that increased the production of urine these usually fall into one of several categories; loop diuretics, potassium-sparing diuretics and thiazides.

  • Furosemide.
  • Bumetanide.
  • Spironolactone.
  • Bendroflumethiazide.
  • Indapamide.
  • Amiloride.

Intravenous Fluids

Intravenous Fluids are infusion fluids and usually fall into one of two categories; colloid and crystalloid and can include supplements such as potassium and magnesium.

  • Normal Saline.
  • Plasmalyte.
  • Hartmann’s solution.
  • Geloplasma / Plasmalyte.
  • Glucose.

Sedatives

Sedatives are a group of medications that are using for a calming effect. They can be used to promote sleep, ease withdrawal symptoms or reduce agitation and irritability.

  • Zopiclone.
  • Haloperidol.
  • Lorazepam.
  • Midazolam.
  • Diazepam.
  • Chlordiazepoxide.
  • Temazepam.
  • Phenobarbitol.

Statins

Statins or lipid-lowering medications are a group of medications that have been found to lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. Usually, they are prescribed to help reduce the risk of; stroke, coronary heart disease, heart attacks and angina.

  • Simvastatin.
  • Atorvastatin.
  • Pravastatin.

Supplements

Supplements are medications that generally include hormones, vitamins, minerals, fibre, fatty acids or amino acids and other substances.

  • Levothyroxine
  • Adcal / Calcichew.
  • Ferrous Fumarate.
  • Ferrous Sulphate.
  • Multivitamins.
  • Thiamine.
  • Cholecalciferol.
  • Quinine.
  • Folic Acid.
  • Sandoz-K
  • Sandoz-Phosphate
  • Slow sodium.
  • Alendronic Acid.

Laxatives

Laxatives are used to treat either acute or chronic constipation and usually fall into one of the following categories; bulk-forming, osmotic, stimulant or stool softening.

  • Lactulose.
  • Senna.
  • Movicol.
  • Sodium Docusate.
  • Bisacodyl.
  • Phosphate Enema.
  • Microlax Enema.
  • Glycerine Suppositories.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are a group of drugs whose main action is the reduction in gastric acid production.

  • Omeprazole.
  • Lansoprazole.
  • Esomeprazole.
  • Ranitidine (H2-receptor-blocker).
  • Peptac.