More prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs were issued in Britain than ever before last year, according to new statistics
The number of prescriptions for Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs has risen by more than a quarter in a year, official figures show.
According to statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), there were 1.7 million prescriptions for sildenafil, which is commonly sold as Viagra but also available under other trade names, in 2014 - up from 1.4m in 2013.
The amount of prescriptions for the drug has almost doubled in the space of a decade (1m in 2004).
While the number of prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs has gone up, the cost of sildenafil fell by 85.9pc as generic alternatives became available in 2013, HSCIC said.
The upwards trend for prescriptions of Viagra is replicated in the sale of other drugs. Figures show that more than 1.06 billion items were prescribed in England last year, an increase of 3.3pc on 2013 and a rise of 55.2pc on 2004.
Antidepressants, which include drugs for depressive illness, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic attacks, also saw a large increase. 57.1 million were dispensed last year, up 7.2pc from 53.3 million in 2013.
That figure has nearly doubled in the space of ten years (up 97.1pc since 2004).
The amount that Britain spends on prescription drugs has also risen, with the overall net ingredient cost (NIC) of prescriptions now at £8.85 billion, up 2.6pc on 2013 and 9.6pc over the last decade.
The most money was spent on drugs for diabetes for the eighth year in succession, rising by £55.3 million (7pc) in a year to £849.1 million last year. 2.9m Britons are believed to live with diabetes, and that figure is estimated to reach 5m by 2025
The report shows the average NIC per prescription item dispensed in the community had decreased by 29.4pc since 2004.
Of all prescription items dispensed the vast majority - 89.9pc (957.1 million) - were free of charge.
Three in five were for patients aged 60 and over, accounting for 51.2pc (£4.53 billion) of the total NIC for all prescriptions.
One in 20 was for patients aged under 16 or 16-18 and in full-time education.
The report looks at prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists, dispensing doctors and in GP practices.