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

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.
NPR

Sweet: Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme Pump Up Pledge On Palm Oil

Two major doughnut chains have bowed to consumer pressure to better police their palm oil purchases. Environmentalists say it's a win for consumers, trees and animals.
WAMU 88.5

Virginia Legislators Kill Medicaid Expansion Effort

The Republican majority killed a compromise effort on a 64 to 33 vote. That means no action will be taken to expand Virginia's Medicaid program.
NPR

Look, Mom, I Finally Made It To Broadway!

NPR's Michel Martin will sit down with a panel of award-winning playwrights to ask about diversity in theater. Follow here or join us on Twitter on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, using #NPRMichel.

Leave a Comment

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