Get To Know 'Number Needed To Treat' | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Get To Know 'Number Needed To Treat'

While reading over an analysis of decades-old studies of LSD as a treatment for alcoholism last week, I found that the so-called number needed to treat was 6 to prevent alcohol misuse. In other words, treat six people and one would benefit.

That may not sound great, but in medicine a single-digit NNT is actually quite an achievement. For comparison, consider that an aspirin taken regularly to prevent cardiovascular disease in people already known to have heart disease or to have survived as stroke has an NNT of 50.

The best NNT is 1: everybody treated benefits.

In the post I eventually wrote about the LSD study, I didn't mention the NNT, choosing to focus on the question of why scientists think hallucinogens might make sense as treatments for addiction. But knowing that the NNT was so low helped me decide looking at the study would be worth the time.

The LSD study sparked quite a bit of chatter about NNT that got me thinking it might be worth organizing in one place.

Here goes.

-

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Louis C.K. Reflects On 'Louie,' Loss, Love And Life

C.K. won an Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series for an episode on his FX show Louie. In 2011, C.K. told Fresh Air about making his comedy special and his relationship with other comedians.
NPR

Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food'

Some governments recently said that agricultural investments should supply "culturally acceptable food." Now they're trying to define what that is.
NPR

Former Iowa Lawmaker Admits To Getting Payoff Before 2012 Caucuses

Kent Sorenson pleaded guilty in federal court to taking under-the-table payments when he switched sides between GOP presidential candidates. The former state senator previously denied the rumors.
NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.