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Almost of scientific research are probability statistics that the number can be presented in many ways. If the reader cannot understand the meaning of presentation, he will be tricked that the drug has better statistics than the actual does. For example, to give recommendation to the person with the risk of coronary artery disease (such as has hypertension and smoke) to take hypolipidaemic agents to prevent paralysis, there was a research that monitored 70,000 patients for 5 years. The patients were divided into two groups; the first group took hypolipidaemic agents (Statins) and the second group took placebo. It was found that in 5 years, from 100 patients who took placebo, 4.2 patients had paralysis while only 3.3 patients from those who took Statins had paralysis. It implied that hypolipidaemic agents reduced the chance of paralysis = 4.2 - 3.3 = 0.9% or 100 patients who took medicine for 5 years would have less chance to have paralysis for 1%.

From the above, the reader can easily understand that there is few benefits of drug and it is not worthy to take it. However, the drug company that hired the researcher to conduct the research did not agreed. He said hypolipidaemic agents reduced the chance of paralysis for 21% in 5 years. He can say that because instead of present the number directly or called absolute risk reduction (ARR), which means to reduce the risk 1%, he presented as the relative risk reduction - RRR which is the ability to reduce the risk bases on the existing risk in percentage. The calculation is as follows.

  1. Taking placebo 100 persons, has paralysis 4.2 persons
  2. Taking hypolipidaemic agents, Statin 100 persons, has paralysis 3.3 persons which is hypolipidaemic agents, Statin reduces risk 4.2-3.3 = 0.9% that reduces relative risk = (0.9 x 100)/4.2 = 21%

Adding the word “relative” after the word risk, they can sell the drug. Moreover, when they sell drug, they do not tell you that it is the relative risk, but say it reduces risk 21% by omitting the word “relative” for you to understand the over benefits of drug. Some physician are attempting to look for the new word to convey the meaning to the patient to comprehend thoroughly. When the word “risk” is used as a tool for selling drug, the concept “number need to treat- NNT” is created. NNT means that how many patients need to take the drug to reduce the risk of paralysis, which is the number that easily to understand. Regarding the benefits of hypolipidaemic agents, I have reviewed the good researches [8-17] that cover 400,000 patients with moderate risk and summarize as follows.

  1. To prevent paralysis, NNT is 154 patients who should take drug for 5 years.
  2. To prevent heart attack, NNT is 104 patients who should take drug for 5 years.
  3. To cause diabetes (because of the side-effect of Statins), 100 patients should take drug for one case result.
  4. To cause one person has the side-effect of drug such as having muscle pain, 10 patients should take drug for 5 years for one case result.

You can now understand whether you should take hypolipidaemic agents to prevent paralysis or heart attack or not. In fact, there was the research on 307 patients who normally took drug for heart and it was found that the patients expected that the drug would be the absolute risk reduction for 20–30%. When they found out that it only prevented 5%, only 27% of patients continued taking drug. Apart from understanding the use of statistic to fool the exceeding of drug using, the consumer should study the research result that indicates the alternative of self-care with other technique and method. For instance, the physician gives aspirin to the patient with heart attack to prevent the awful end. Whereas the drug company reports that aspirin give 22% relative risk reduction, the actual reduction is only 2.5% if taking drug for 5 years. Moreover, it increases the risk of hemorrhage outside the brain at 0.42%[18]. The other alternative is Salicylate which is the active ingredients from food in aspirin. It is mostly found in fruits, ketchup, tea, herbs and spices, especially Yellow Curcuma. Normal people have Salicylate from food at 0.4–200 g./day [19]. Thus, the consumers can consume the food cooked with vegetable containing high Salicylate.