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Letters |

Interpreting the Number Needed to Treat

Lambert A. Wu, MD; Thomas E. Kottke, MD, MSPH
JAMA. 2002;288(7):830-832. doi:10.1001/jama.288.7.828.
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To the Editor: In evaluating studies published in 5 widely circulated journals, Dr Nuovo and colleagues1 found that only 8 of 359 eligible articles reported the number needed to treat (NNT), despite the fact that the reporting of NNT is recommended by the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) group.2 Although the authors suggest that NNT allows " . . . comparisons with the amount of effort needed to prevent the same or other events in patients with other disorders," we would like to point out that such comparisons can be misleading.

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