By convention, clinical trials, systematic reviews and observational studies provide clinical evidence for treatment recommendations.
When interpreting this evidence in the context of an individual patient there are two main questions; can the population-based evidence be applied and how favourable is the benefit to harm ratio of the recommendation?
The discussion will use some recent examples from the literature and address how a balanced viewpoint can be expressed when writing summaries or reports.
David Woods is a consultant pharmacist with a background in medicines information, pharmacy education and paediatric clinical pharmacy. David is currently pharmaceutical adviser to the Best Practice Advocacy Centre (bpacnz) and is a Professional Practice Fellow in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago. He has worked extensively in the field of evidence-based medicine and rational drug use and has contributed to educational and resource development programs both nationally and internationally, particularly in developing countries. Consultancies include work with the WHO, USAID, UNICEF and GRIP (Global Research in Paediatrics). David was integral to the development of the New Zealand Formulary and New Zealand Formulary for Children and recently directed the introduction of the national drug formulary for Kazakhstan.