Making Good Treatment Choices With Your Healthcare Team by Pfizer
MAKING GOOD TREATMENT
CHOICES WITH YOUR
UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF MEDICINES
EACH OF US MAKES MANY DECISIONS EVERY DAY.
When we choose what food to eat or when to cross a busy street, we weigh the benefits
and risks. This also happens when we think through whether or not to take a medicine.
HAVE BENEFITS AND RISKS.
Medicines that need a prescription
Medicines you might buy without a prescription
Benefits of a medicine are favorable effects and risks of a medicine
are unfavorable effects that can happen when you take a medicine.
of taking a medicine might include, for example:
• Improving sleep • Treating an infection • Preventing a heart attack
of taking a medicine might be, for example:
• Mild like most headaches • More serious like kidney damage • And, rarely, death
When your healthcare team talks about the benefits and risks of your medicine, they use the product information to help you make good choices about your treatment options.
There are potential risks if you
take a medicine as prescribed.
Taking medicines incorrectly can
interfere with the ability of medicines
to treat many diseases.
You and your healthcare team
must always weigh the benefits
and risks in order to choose
the treatment that is right for you.
Test your risk for heart disease with this short quiz.
This is just one example showing how different people may have different risks.
CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE QUIZ
People may think of risk differently.
Would you feel safe...
Crossing a busy street?
Driving a car?
Riding a motorcycle?
Flying in an airplane?
The way you think about these and other activities
may be different from how other people think about them.
It depends on many things such as:
• How you view and understand risk • How much risk you are willing to accept
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VIEWING RISK
UNDERSTANDING YOUR RISK
Understanding benefits and risks can help you make important decisions about your health and treatment.
Imagine reading this headline online or in a newspaper:
“TAKING MEDICINE X INCREASES THE RISK OF A HEART ATTACK BY 100%”
That may be alarming at first glance — but what if the headline said:
“WHEN TAKING MEDICINE X, ONE EXTRA PERSON IN ONE MILLION HAS A HEART ATTACK”?
This statement is an example of absolute risk, which is the risk of having an event over a period of time.
Both headlines are talking about the same event.
The first headline is describing a relative risk, which examines the risk of an event happening to people who take a medicine compared to those who do not.
As you can see, relative risk and absolute risk are two different ways of looking at risk.
You and your healthcare team should discuss absolute and relative risk as they apply to you.
Your risk of a side effect may be different
from someone else who is taking the same
For example, some medicines
have a greater risk of side effects among
It is important to talk with your healthcare
team about your risks with a medicine.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING RISK
When you meet with your healthcare team,
take action by asking these questions:
What are my treatment options?
What might happen if I wait to take this medicine or take no medicine?
What are the benefits and risks of each option?
What are the chances that these benefits and risks will happen to me?
TELL YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM WHAT RISKS AND BENEFITS ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU.
FOR MORE ABOUT COMMUNICATING BENEFIT AND RISK INFORMATION, PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO
Shepherd et al. Three questions that patients can ask to improve the quality of information physicians give about
treatment options: A cross-over trial.
Pat Ed Couns
2011; 84: 379-385.