Ear infections and antibiotics

The Prescriber’s Newsletter cites a study that comments on the use of antibiotics for ear infections. Using the statistical variable, Number Needed to Treat (NNT) and Number Needed to Harm (NNH) helps put data into perspective:

The number needed to treat is 15…you have to give antibiotics to 15 kids for ONE to benefit.

But you must also consider the number needed to harm…only 12. Treating 12 children will result in ONE having a side effect… diarrhea, nausea, etc.

Just another reminder that prescribing antibiotics is not a harmless thing.

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