A note on the number needed to treat.

  title={A note on the number needed to treat.},
  author={Emmanuel Lesaffre and Gordon Pledger},
  journal={Controlled clinical trials},
  volume={20 5},
The concept of the average number of patients needed to treat to prevent a single bad outcome is becoming increasingly popular among clinicians. Defined as the inverse of the absolute risk reduction (delta), its sample estimate is denoted as NNT. Here we discuss the mathematical and statistical properties of NNT and show that simple calculations, like taking sums of different NNTs, can give nonsensical results. The implication for a meta-analysis expressed in NNTs is that we can best calculate… CONTINUE READING

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