More Americans than ever are taking prescription drugs — close to 60 percent of U.S. adults, according to new research.

And most seem to be related to obesity, with cholesterol and blood pressure drugs leading the pack, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The single most popular drug is Zocor, a cholesterol-lowering drug in a class called statins, said Elizabeth Kantor, formerly of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The drug, known generically as simvastatin, is taken by 8 percent of the U.S. population.

Her team used national surveys of more than 37,000 adults to find that the percentage of people taking prescription drugs rose from 51 percent of the adult population in 1999 to 59 percent in 2011.

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