Doctors Launch to Give Treatment Info

Conveying how well a therapy works–and doing so in understandable terms–isn’t easy, but a group of physicians is trying to change that.

Their new website,, looks at a stat called the “number needed to treat,” which it defines as “a measurement of the impact of a medicine or therapy [that estimates] the number of patients that need to be treated in order to have an impact on one person.” (Here’s the new site’s explanation of the NNT. We’ve mentioned the metric before in a post about gauging heart risk.)

The site summarizes the evidence (taken mostly from systematic reviews like those from the Cochrane Collaboration) behind a range of treatments and therapies, including the Mediterranean Diet for post-heart attack care and antibiotics for ear infections. It also includes, when appropriate, the “number needed to harm,” which indicates how many people you’d have to treat before one is harmed by the intervention. Both stats are presented as a proportion — i.e. one in 42 people will have his or her life saved by taking aspirin after a major heart attack (an NNT of 42), and one in 167 will have non-dangerous bleeding (a NNH of 167).

Read the rest of this post on the original site

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