Absolute risk reduction

From Citizendium
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
This editable Main Article is under development and subject to a disclaimer.

In clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine, the absolute risk reduction is a measure that compares the frequency of a clinical outcome in group of patients exposed to a factor compared to a control group of patients.[1] This measure should be contrasted with the relative risk reduction.

Most scientific journal articles fail to report absolute measures which may lead to exaggerated perceptions of results.[2]


Two-by-two table for a randomized-controlled trial or cohort study
Present Absent
Experimental group Cell A Cell B Total in the experimental group
Control group Cell C Cell D Total in the control group
Total with the outcome Total without the outcome

Confidence intervals

The confidence intervals can be calculated using the method of Daly:[3]


  1. Barratt A, Wyer PC, Hatala R, et al (2004). "Tips for learners of evidence-based medicine: 1. Relative risk reduction, absolute risk reduction and number needed to treat". CMAJ 171 (4): 353–8. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.1021197. PMID 15313996. Research Blogging.
  2. Welch HG et al.Ratio measures in leading medical journals: structured review of accessibility of underlying absolute risks.BMJ. 2006 Dec 16;333(7581):1248. Epub 2006 Oct 23. PMID 17060338
  3. Daly LE (1998). "Confidence limits made easy: interval estimation using a substitution method.". Am J Epidemiol 147 (8): 783-90. PMID 9554420.

See also