If you take any sort of medication, it might interest you to find out what the NNT of that medication is. NNT stands for the Number Needed to Treat, essentially a ratio that tells you how many people need to take a medication for one person to see a benefit. A perfect scenario would be where every one person treated saw one person benefitted. This would be an NNT of 1.
A higher number would mean that less people saw benefits in the trial group or more people in the control group saw benefits without the medication for that condition, or both. The higher the number, the less effective the medication is assumed to be.
The NNT could also be negative, meaning that the medication or intervention actually caused more harm than those in the control group.
Let’s look at a real-world example using one of the most common drugs on the market, a cholesterol lowering drug called Atorvastatin. After a 3.3 year trial, they found a 36% reduction in heart attacks. Sounds great, right? This was the Relative Risk Reduction, meaning the amount of people in the trial group who still had a heart attack was 36% smaller than those in the control group who had a heart attack.
As you might imagine, that’s only part of the story. Another measure, known as the Absolute Risk Reduction, showed that a single person taking that drug had only a 1.02% reduction in their risk of a heart attack. The NNT is an inverse of this number, so you would have to treat 98 people for 3.3 years to prevent one heart attack!
Do you feel lucky?
Let’s use a hypothetical example to show how statistics can be used to manipulate you. Say there is a cancer that affects 2% of people without any treatment. Taking a new pill lowers this risk to 1%. It is completely true to say that this drug cuts your risk of cancer by 50%, or you could say that your risk of cancer is 200% greater if you don’t take it. These are relative risks. The absolute risk reduction is only 1% and the Number Needed to Treat would be 100, but the 50% and 200% numbers make a bigger impact on you psychologically. This is why we say, “Stats don’t lie, but statisticians do.”
The reason we bring this up is that this is a classic example of reductionist thinking in the medical world. Medical doctors, in general, want to do one simple thing the same way every time (prescribing pills is as easy as it gets), and hope that this time it works on this patient, knowing that it’s a 1/98 chance it will actually work. The other 97 are stuck paying for a pill that they don’t need while possibly harming themselves more than they may help.
We don’t work that way in our office. We can’t work that way! We depend on word-of-mouth referrals WAY too much for us to only have success with 1% of our patients. Plus, we aren’t in network with any insurance carriers so our patients are financially invested in their care. If they don’t see results, they’re gone!
We pride ourselves on giving all of our patients great care, individualized to their needs to allow their body to work better, heal better, and feel better. Through specific and gentle chiropractic care and customized nutritional healing with Nutrition Response Testing, we are confident that we can improve your health in meaningful ways.
The medical world wants to medicate everyone from the outside-in with a drug that only helps a small number of people, while we know that healing can only happen from the inside-out and our only job is to remove the interference and supply the right building materials.
This is why we know that at Inside Health… Health comes from Inside.