Healthcare Insights

Top 10 FDA-approved drugs prescribed by neurologists

Neurology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. A neurologist is a specialized doctor in the study and treatment of the nervous system. According to the American Academy of Neurology, a neurologist has training “in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.”

Utilizing de-identified, all-payor prescription claims volumes for 2021, we can see that neurologists prescribed more than 3,400 different medications in 2021. The top 10 most-prescribed medications account for more than 30% of the total prescriptions, which makes them the most utilized FDA-approved drugs by neurologists in 2021.

Top 10 neurology drugs by prescription volume

RankDrug name# of prescriptions% of total prescriptionsExplore dataset
5Carbidopa and levodopa703,1913.10%Explore
6Donepezil Hydrochloride497,2422.20%Explore
7Divalproex Sodium471,6732.10%Explore
8Amitriptyline hydrochloride 463,9402.10%Explore
10Propranolol Hydrochloride383,1671.70%Explore

Fig. 1 Data is from Definitive Healthcare’s ClaimsRX product. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical clearinghouses in the United States and updated monthly. Data accurate as of June 2022.

What are neurologic conditions?

Neurologic conditions affect the nervous system, which is responsible for regulating and coordinating bodily functions. The nervous system has two major divisions, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

Some of the more common neurologic conditions are:

  • neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • concussions
  • epilepsy
  • migraine and other headache disorders
  • multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases
  • stroke

How do neurologists treat patients?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, neurologists may use a host of diagnostic approaches such as blood, urine or other fluid tests in order to help understand a condition’s severity or check on medication levels. Additionally, neurologists may use genetic testing to identify inherited disorders.

Imaging studies of a patient’s nervous system might also be ordered to aid in diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, neurologists use medications, physical therapy or other approaches.

Neurologists do not perform surgery. If one of their patients requires surgery, they refer them to a neurosurgeon.

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