Top 20 prescriptions by pulmonologists

October is Healthy Lung Month, and in the spirit of promoting the importance of these vital organs, this Healthcare Insight covers the medications most often prescribed by pulmonologists — physicians who specialize in pulmonary disease.

Using data from our ClaimsRx product, we analyzed the most frequent prescriptions made from January 2022 through August 2022, covering nearly 11,600 pulmonologists tracked in our PhysicianView product.

Top medications prescribed by pulmonologists

Rank Drug name Percent of prescriptions
1 Albuterol sulfate 11.8%
2 Trelegy Ellipta 6.0%
3 Prednisone 4.8%
4 Montelukast sodium 4.5%
5 SYMBICORT 3.9%
6 Breo Ellipta 3.2%
7 Fluticasone propionate 2.6%
8 Montelukast 2.6%
9 FLOVENT 2.2%
10 Spiriva Respimat 2.1%
11 Ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate 2.1%
12 Azithromycin 1.9%
13 Anoro Ellipta 1.9%
14 Fluticasone propionate and salmeterol 1.7%
15 PROAIR 1.6%
16 VENTOLIN 1.4%
17 ADVAIR 1.4%
18 Spiriva 1.2%
19 Budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate 1.2%
20 Budesonide 1.2%

Fig. 1. Data from the Definitive Healthcare ClaimsRx product. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and updated monthly. Data accessed September 2022.

What medications do pulmonologists most often prescribe?

Albuterol sulfate is the most frequently prescribed medication by pulmonologists, making up nearly 12% of tracked prescriptions from January to August 2022. This generic drug is inhaled by patients to relieve the wheezing and coughing symptoms of bronchospasms.

Trelegy Ellipta accounts for 6% of pulmonologist prescriptions and is used to treat both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Third on the list, prednisone, is a steroid that suppresses inflammation and is used for many conditions including asthma.

What does a pulmonologist do?

Pulmonologists diagnose, treat, and manage patients with serious or chronic breathing conditions. Lung disease and respiratory infections and failure are common and chronic conditions affecting tens of millions of Americans.

The study of pulmonology focuses on the respiratory system including the lungs, mouth, nose, throat, and airways.

Respiratory conditions are diagnosed through procedures such as chest x-rays, bloodwork, CT scans, sleep studies, and spirometry.

Some of the main conditions pulmonologists see patients for include:

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