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/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 23

You can see a horror flick or attend a film festival about the events and heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

NPR

Fruit Recall Hits Trader Joe's, Costco, Wal-Mart Stores

The recall applies to "certain lots of whole peaches (white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots" from a California packing company, the FDA says.
NPR

California Nurses Union Braces For Contract Battle

The largest union of nurses in California starts contract negotiations Thursday with Kaiser Permanente's hospitals. Talks went smoothly four years ago, but this round will likely be more contentious.
NPR

A Plan To Untangle Our Digital Lives After We're Gone

In the digital age, our online accounts don't die with us. A proposed law might determine what does happen to them. But the tech industry warns the measure could threaten the privacy of the deceased.

Leave a Comment

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