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We are probably the only generation in human history that are relying all too much on drugs and medicines. When we have pain and headache, we quickly take pills to ease the pain. When we cough and sneeze, we take pills. When we feel sad, we take pills. If possible we want to take a pill for every problem in our life doesn’t matter if the problem is medical or not.

In this article I want to discuss about the effectiveness of drugs and medicines. We often take this for granted in our daily life. It is important to know that all drugs are invented or discovered for a very specific purpose. Paracetamol (well known as Panadol), for example is used for its ability to stop pain and fever. However, drugs do not work all the time in all people. None of the drugs out there has the ability to work 100% all the time. That means, even paracetamol will not ease some people from fever and pain all the time.

Keep that in mind next time you are complaining about your medicines to your doctor.

Recently, the statisticians have come up with a very attractive term to describe the effectiveness of medicines. It is called ‘number-needed-to-treat (NNT)’. The term is expressed in number in a specific time frame. The number indicates how many patients have to take the medicine before one of them gets better. Of course the ideal NNT is 1 (which means the one patient who took the medicine did get better). NNT as 1 also means the drug works 100% for the given time.

Now that you know what is NNT, just imagine a drug that has NNT as 2. That means if two patients take the drug, only one will get cured. Now you can work out what happens if the NNT is 5 or 10. You may want to know that most of the drugs out there have NNT around that number (5 to 10). No wonder you are not getting better if you are relying on drugs alone.

Do you know that some popular drugs such as statin (cholesterol lowering drugs) have NNT around 50 to 100 in short years?

The point I am trying to make here is that your medicines simply do not work effectively all the time. There are times (more often than not) that they will not work. The reason you get better or feel better is most likely because your innate ability to heal yourself. The reverse is also true. If you don’t get better, it may be nothing to do with the drugs in the first place. All you need is may be some nutrients, some rest and plenty of tender loving care.

Article contributed by: DrRizin H Kusop. MBBS, MSc (Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Aesthetic Med), Dip. Family Med. ( Source is available upon request.