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Viewing Risks

Making sense of risk is a complex challenge.

Sometimes our fears may make risks feel greater than the facts tell us they are.Years of research suggest that people fear things for similar reasons. Some are explained here.1-2

What affects people’s decision to take a medicine or not?1-8

With more experience and information, patients can put risk in better perspective.


1 Ropeik D, Slovic P. Risk communication: a neglected tool in protecting public health. Risk in Perspective [serial online]. June 2003;11:1-4. Available from: Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass. Accessed October 17, 2011.
2 Reynolds B, et al. US Department of Health and Human Services. Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication 2012 Edition.
3 US Food and Drug Administration. Think It Through: A Guide to Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines. Published March 25, 2016.
4 Lee, E. O., & Emanuel, E. J. (2013). Shared Decision Making to Improve Care and Reduce Costs. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(1), 6-8. doi:10.1056/nejmp1209500
5 World Health Organization. Noncommunicable Diseases. Published June 1, 2018.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Avian Influenza A Virus Infections in Humans. Published April 18, 2017.
7 Institute of Safe Medication Practices. Herbals, Vitamins, & Homeopathic Medicines. Published February 5, 2014.
8 US Department of Health and Human Services. Quick Guide to Health Literacy.