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Making Good Treatment Choices

How do people decide whether or not to take a medicine?

When patients and healthcare providers think through the available treatment options, they consider the benefits and risks of each option. Benefits are the favorable effects and risks are the unfavorable effects. It is also important to understand how likely a patient is to experience any of these effects. 

Continue reading for more on this important topic and to test your understanding of risk.

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Making Good Treatment Choices With Your Healthcare Team by Pfizer MAKING GOOD TREATMENT CHOICES WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF MEDICINES 1 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. 2 ALL MEDICINES HAVE BENEFITS AND RISKS. 2 Medicines that needa prescription Medicines you might buywithout 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. 2 BENEFITS of taking a medicinemight include, for example: Improving sleepTreating an infectionPreventing a heart attack RISKS of taking a medicine might be,for example: Mild like most headaches More serious like kidney damageAnd, rarely, death When your healthcare team talks about the benefitsand risks of your medicine, they use the product informationto help you make good choices about your treatment options. There are potential risks if you do not take a medicine as prescribed. 2 Taking medicines incorrectly can interfere with the ability of medicines to treat many diseases. 3 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. 4 CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE QUIZ VIEWING RISK People may think of risk differently. 5 Would you feel safe... Crossing abusy street? Driving a car? Riding a motorcycle? Flying inan 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: 6 • How you viewand understand risk• How much risk you arewilling to accept CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VIEWING RISK UNDERSTANDING YOUR RISK 7,8 Understanding benefits and risks can helpyou make important decisions about your health and treatment. Imagine reading this headline online or in a newspaper: “TAKING MEDICINE X INCREASESTHE 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 PERSONIN 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 eventhappening to people who take a medicine compared to those who do not. As you can see, relative riskand absolute risk are two differentways of looking at risk. You and your healthcare team should discussabsolute 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 medicine. 9 For example, some medicines have a greater risk of side effects among older adults. It is important to talk with your healthcare team about your risks with a medicine. 10 CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING RISK TAKE ACTION When you meet with your healthcare team, take action by asking these questions: 11 What are my treatment options? What might happen if I wait to takethis medicine or take no medicine? What are the benefits and risksof each option? What are the chances that thesebenefits and risks will happen to me? TELL YOUR HEALTHCARE TEAM WHAT RISKS AND BENEFITSARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU. FOR MORE ABOUT COMMUNICATING BENEFIT AND RISK INFORMATION,PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO SOURCES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 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.