Asprin. Statin. Helpful? Harmful? How can you know?

Have you ever wondered about how well certain medications or therapies live up to their claims? A website called The NNT – Quick Summaries of Evidence-Based Medicine aims to answer this question by simplifying findings from high quality medical research studies and illustrating them in an easy to understand format.

“NNT” stands for “Numbers-Needed-to-Treat” and is an estimation of the number of people that need to use any particular medication or therapy in order to benefit one person. Calculating the NNT we are able to estimate the likelihood that people will be helped, harmed, or remain unaffected by a given medication or procedure.

One case where the calculated NNT might surprise many is the use of Aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. For individuals who took Aspirin daily for a year only 1 out of 1667 patients were helped by preventing a first heart attack or stroke, whereas 1 out of 3333 were harmed by a major bleeding event. This raises an interesting question; does the benefit outweigh the risk? This tool helps providers and patients answer this question and reach an informed decision.

For more information on the harms and benefits of certain treatments visit: