Introduction: Mineral supplements such as calcium and iron are readily available over the counter and are some of the most frequently consumed dietary supplements. Health care providers also prescribe mineral supplements for treatment of certain conditions and to maintain health. Objective: This study examines trends in mineral-supplement prescriptions dispensed by military treatment facilities. Methods: We examined data from the DoD Pharmacy Data Transaction Service to determine the nature of mineral-supplement prescriptions dispensed by MTFs from 2007 through 2011. Results: Overall, 1,785,158 calcium, 844,655 iron, 166,207 magnesium, and 23,297 zinc prescriptions were dispensed over this 5-year period. Although the number of zinc prescriptions decreased considerably by an average of 30% across the 5-year period, calcium and magnesium prescriptions increased by 3% and 8%, respectively. The number of iron prescriptions dispensed was relatively stable across the 5 years. Conclusions: Patterns of mineral-supplement prescriptions in the military changed over the 5-year period examined. However, the patterns within the DoD medical system may or may not represent those of the civilian medical system. Because we could not determine the reasons why the mineral supplements were prescribed, we cannot report whether the supplements were effective for the intended uses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health