I don't know what I was thinking, mucking about yesterday with Time Magazine's annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world, when there was a much more important listicle to talk about: the 2009 list of the Top 25 Psychiatric Prescriptions, released by IMS Health.
One handy way of looking at the two lists is that many of the people on the former influenced millions of Americans to seek succor from the pharmaceuticals on the latter.
Topping the list is Xanax (alprazolam), which found itself in the number one slot back in 2005. Basically, Xanax is the Oprah Winfrey of psychopharmacology. "You get a warm, fuzzy light in the pit of your stomach to help you deal with modern life, and YOU get a warm, fuzzy light in the pit of your stomach to deal with modern life, and YOU get a -- oh, look, it's worn off, better eat another Xanax, pillhead!"
Rounding out the top five are Lexapro, Ativan, Zoloft, and Prozac. The biggest gainer on the list, relative to 2005 numbers is Cymbalta, which was prescribed 16,626,000 times in 2009, a gain of 237%.
In potentially ominous news for online media, the biggest drop from 2005 to 2009 was registered in prescriptions for Adderall -- a.k.a. "The Pill That Makes Professional Blogging Possible" -- which fell from number 12 to number 21.
You can look at the entire list of drugs that Americans are crushing up and blending with their smoothies by clicking here. And as long as I'm dedicating songs to people today, here's Firewater's "Psychopharmacology."
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more