Almost half of over-65s in England are taking at least five different drugs a day, a Cambridge University study has found.
The figure has risen from just 12 per cent 20 years ago, while the proportion taking no pills at all dropped from around 20 per cent in the late 1990s to just seven per cent today.
Researchers tracked more than 15,000 older people who took part in two long-term health studies which began in the 1990s.
Some of those who took part in the long-term investigation said they were on up to 23 tablets every day.
Researchers expressed concern at the increasing dependence on prescription and over-the-counter medicines – known as ‘polypharmacy’.