The number needed to treat: a clinically useful measure of treatment effect.

TitleThe number needed to treat: a clinically useful measure of treatment effect.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsCook RJ, Sackett DL
JournalBMJ (Clinical research ed.)
Volume310
Issue6977
Pagination452-4
Date Published1995 Feb 18
ISSN0959-8138
KeywordsCerebrovascular Disorders, Humans, Hypertension, Odds Ratio, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Risk Assessment, Statistics as Topic, Treatment Outcome
Abstract

The relative benefit of an active treatment over a control is usually expressed as the relative risk, the relative risk reduction, or the odds ratio. These measures are used extensively in both clinical and epidemiological investigations. For clinical decision making, however, it is more meaningful to use the measure "number needed to treat." This measure is calculated on the inverse of the absolute risk reduction. It has the advantage that it conveys both statistical and clinical significance to the doctor. Furthermore, it can be used to extrapolate published findings to a patient at an arbitrary specified baseline risk when the relative risk reduction associated with treatment is constant for all levels of risk.

Alternate JournalBMJ
PubMed ID7873954
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