Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor
Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002
To the Editor: Dr Nuovo and colleagues1 claim that the CONSORT statement encourages reporting
absolute values and the NNT. In fact, the CONSORT statement does not encourage
any specific measure of effect but instead encourages transparency in reporting
the methods and results so that reports of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)
can be interpreted readily and accurately.2
Indeed, the CONSORT statement recommends that "for each primary and secondary
outcome, authors report a summary of results for each group, and the estimated
effect size and its precision," but it does not encourage any specific measure
of effect. Nevertheless, the CONSORT explanation and elaboration document
does suggest that "for binary and survival time data, expressing the results
also as the number needed to treat for benefit (NNTB) or harm (NNTH) can be helpful,"3 which does not
mean, however, that CONSORT encourages its use in all cases.
Schulz KF, Moher D, Altman DG. Interpreting the Number Needed to Treat. JAMA. 2002;288(7):830-832. doi:10.1001/jama.288.7.828