This Summer Saw a Surprising Spike in These Beauty Medications

Prescription medication demand was on the rise this summer as Americans resumed healthcare visits. Medications for acne, eyelash growth, and weight loss saw higher-than-average fill rates, according to GoodRx. You could call this the summer of beauty, as people flocked to fill prescriptions for personal appearance-enhancing products.

Sertraline (Zoloft), an anti-anxiety and anti-depression drug, along with topical corticosteroid skin creams, were also in high demand.

“This summer, as many enjoyed the welcome comfort brought to them by the COVID-19 vaccine, Americans started to venture back to their healthcare providers,” notes Tori Marsh, who holds a master’s degree in public health and is on the research team of GoodRx. “And while much of the country sought out essential prescriptions, trends show that Americans may be prioritizing lifestyle and beauty medications more than they have in years.”

Marsh says that the demand for lifestyle medications spiked this summer. As people began removing their masks and returning to a quasi-normal social life, prescriptions for medications like Latisse, which is used to enhance the growth of lush lashes, skyrocketed. According to Good Rx, during the pandemic this drug had almost no fills. But in April 2021, there was a more than 2000% increase in fill rate for Latisse than in the past.

Lockdowns in March and April 2020 triggered an 11% decrease in demand for acne medication compared to 2019 figures. But the skin irritation and breakouts caused by masks and the stress of the pandemic saw fills of acne medications increase 16% in 2021 over the 2019 figures.

The same phenomenon was observed with weight loss medications. After lockdown ended and vaccinations began, the fill rate for weight loss drugs like the ever-popular phentermine, brand name Adipex-P, soared 35% compared to 2019 data.

The GoodRx report also revealed that the increase in social and economic struggles during the pandemic fueled widespread use of sertraline, or Zoloft, a popular antidepressant, and the fills have remained high, increasing as much as 8% in 2020 and 2021 over the number of fills in 2019.

“This summer, while fill rates were up across the board, lifestyle and beauty medications, sertraline, and topical corticosteroids saw major increases,” says Marsh. “These fills offer insight into what medical conditions Americans may be eager to treat as we emerge from months of quarantine. Whether these increases will be sustained remains to be seen as we head into fall and COVID cases continue to rise due to the delta variant.”

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