The workload is particularly high among the elderly and chronically ill, many of whom use prescription drugs for their health care, according to new research.

Almost half of the cost of prescription drugs is paid out of pocket, and consumers take fewer prescribed medicines for cost reasons. Prescription medicines are an important part of maintaining and improving health, but the rising cost of prescription medicines affects not only health costs but also the quality of life of consumers.

Take, for example, prescription drugs taken by more than half of adults suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. They are taken up by adults with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and other mental health problems.

People with these conditions fill many prescriptions each year and spend significant amounts on prescription drugs.

Adults with diabetes fill about four times as many prescriptions and spend about twice as much on prescription drugs as adults without diabetes, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The high consumption of prescription drugs may also be due to the high number of people with multiple chronic diseases, such as people with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.