[Use and interpretation of the number needed to treat in urological practice]

Urologe A. 2013 May;52(5):682-5. doi: 10.1007/s00120-013-3149-x.
[Article in German]


The number needed to treat (NNT) is a useful way for clinicans to describe the benefit or harm of a treatment as well as the costs involved. When interpreting the NNT it is essential to use the NNT in a clinically equivalent and appropriate setting. When evaluating the consequences of a treatment clinicians should make sure that the patients being treated have the same risk profile asthe study patients. Differences in duration of follow-up and baseline risks can cause significant changes in the NNT; therefore, NNT should be evaluated in addition to relative risk differences and baseline risk to reduce any ambivalence in the assessment of a treatment. This review provides insights into the assessment and clinical use of NNT in the practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Interpretation, Statistical*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Numbers Needed To Treat / statistics & numerical data*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Urologic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Urologic Diseases / therapy*
  • Urology / statistics & numerical data*