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Therapie. 1999 May-Jun;54(3):309-14.

[The problem of therapeutic efficacy indices. 2. Description of the indices].

[Article in French]

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Service de pharmacologie clinique, EA 643, Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France.


The four indices for a binary outcome or therapeutic objective are: the odds ratio, the relative risk, the absolute benefit and the number of patients to treat. For a continuous outcome, the effect size is the best choice. The odds ratio approximates the relative risk. The difference may be large in some instances. The number of patients to treat is the reciprocal of the absolute benefit. Although they are built on the same two quantities, they are not interchangeable and should not be considered in the same way. Moreover, their meaning is not straightforward and they can be misused.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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