Table 1.

Patients’ Responses to 8 Methods of Expressing Benefit From a Hypothetical New Medication That Would Reduce the Risk of a Heart Attack (N = 100)

Encouraged to Take Medication Daily, No.
Question (Method)YesNoUndecided
By taking this new medication for 5 years, you will be 32% less likely to have a heart attack [relative risk]85123
By taking this new medication for 5 years, the chances of you having a heart attack will reduce from 23% to 16% [absolute risk, negative framing]89110
Fourteen people will need to take this new medication for 5 years for 1 person to be prevented from having a heart attack [number needed to treat]67267
The odds of you having a heart attack are 3 to 1 without medication and 5 to 1 if you take the medication for 5 years [odds ratio]83152
There are 100 people who have had angina or a heart attack. If they do not take this new medication, then 23 will have a future heart attack and 77 will not. If they all take this new medication for 5 years, then 16 people will have a future heart attack and 7 will be prevented from having a future heart attack [natural frequencies, detailed]75223
By taking this medication for 5 years, the chances of you not having a heart attack will increase from 77% to 84% [absolute risk, positive framing]80173
Your risk of a heart attack is 23 in 100. If you take this new medication for 5 years, it will be 16 in 100 [natural frequencies, simplified]86131
These 2 pictures show in a graph form the risk for 100 people of having a heart attack. The first graph shows the risk over 5 years if the 100 people did not take the new medication. The second graph shows what will happen if all 100 people take this new medication for 5 years to prevent heart attacks [graph]86122