Flexible payments from pension rose to £5.7bn in 2016 as people increasingly sought to take advantage of the freedoms, according to HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) figures.
The total amount taken out has reached £9.2bn since Freedom and Choice came into force in April 2015. The figures are based on flexible pension payments reported to HMRC.
They reveal that the largest quarterly amount of £1.7bn was taken out during Q2 2016, higher than the £1.6bn withdrawn in Q2 2015 when the freedoms had just been launched.
However, figures for Q2 2016 and subsequent quarters may be skewed given that reporting to HMRC was only optional prior to April 2016 when it became compulsory.
The number of individuals cashing out has also risen at a steady rate, from 84,000 in Q2 2015 to 159,000 in Q2 2016, and reaching a peak of 162,000 in last year's fourth quarter.
The number of payments reached an all-time high of 393,000 in Q4 2016, from 296,000 in Q2.
AJ Bell head of technical resources Gareth James said it is "dangerous" to use the £9.2bn as a "measure of success" by not indicating what people are actually using the money for.
"Are they using it to provide a regular and sustainable income as pensions are designed to do, or are they spending it too quickly and likely to run out of money too quickly? It is important that the government carries out a more detailed analysis of how the pension freedoms are being used before any realistic assessment of their success can be made."
However, others pointed out that the average value being withdrawn is falling steadily, from £5,980 in Q2 2016 and £4,753 in Q3 down to £3,969 in Q4.
Just group communications director Stephen Lowe added: "The flexibility of modern pensions can be useful for people who need to access their money at earlier ages. However we recommend caution when considering this, particularly for those who plan to replenish their savings before they stop work.
"We are now nearly two years into the new rules and, despite the official figures, we remain in the dark about how many of those taking pension cash lump sums are thinking about their long term financial security and how many are grabbing it to spend while they can. We need a lot more detail if we are going to identify and head off any future problems."
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