Have you been told your cholesterol level is high? Wait! Before you fill that prescription for cholesterol-lowering medication that will come with a handful of nasty side-effects, there are a few incredibly important things you need to know that your physician may have failed to tell you. Like what a drug’s NNT is and how it directly affects you.
NNT stands for “number needed to treat.” NNT answers the question: How many people must take a particular drug to avoid one occurrence of a medical issue, such as a heart attack? In other words, if a drug has an NNT of 50 in regards to avoiding a heart attack that means that 50 people need to take the drug in order to prevent one heart attack. Of that group, one person’s life is spared; the other 49 are still at major risk for coronary failure.
You’ve probably never heard about NNT because the term is only used by pharmaceutical researchers during the drug “testing” phase. After the results are in, this term and the drug’s “number needed to treat” are often spun around by a quick-witted marketing department who find a way to make even the worst drug statistics look like the next miracle.
To better understand NNT, take a look at the drug Lipitor, made by Pfizer.
A Lipitor newspaper ad claims the drug reduces heart attacks by 36 percent. This claim is followed by a small asterisk. At the bottom of the ad, in mouse type, the asterisk reveals:
“That means in a large clinical study, 3 percent of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2 percent of patients taking Lipitor.”
When you do the NNT math on this statement you’ll find that what the asterisk is really saying is that in a group of 100 people taking Lipitor for over 3.3 years, only one person’s life will be spared from a heart attack. The other 99 people taking Lipitor have nothing positive to show for their Lipitor experience; instead they’ve spent hundreds of dollars on a useless pill and are now suffering through a bunch of Lipitor-related side effects.
The true effectiveness of a drug is usually well hidden behind scientific mumbo-jumbo and ads that contain pictures of happy people enjoying life. The reality is that the prescription drugs your physician is so quick to hand out could cause you more harm than help.
To make sure you’re getting the true help you need, take your health matters into your own hands. Get educated on your health conditions and start implementing a cure the natural way: healthy food choices, healthy doses of exercise each week and regular visits to your chiropractor and other natural minded health care professionals. These health options combined come with an NNT of 1—you.
Take control of your health today; choose a healthy lifestyle that includes regular chiropractic adjustments.
[Source: Article by Dr. Mercola “The Low-Down on Cholesterol: Why You Need It—and the Real Methods to Get Your Levels Right”]