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Glossary of Terms

We know that many of the concepts used on this site can be difficult to understand. For that reason, we have provided you with a glossary to help you make sense of the terms used in Comparative Effectiveness Research. Every word that is defined in this glossary should appear highlighted throughout the Web site. When you come upon a highlighted term and would like to read the full definition, you can either click on the word to visit the glossary or roll your mouse over the word for a pop-up definition.

 

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Risk/Benefit Ratio

Definition: A method for comparing a treatment's benefits and risks, such as curing a disease (benefit) versus having a serious side effect from the treatment (risk). The risk/benefit ratio of a treatment is different depending on the disease or condition being treated.

Example: For example, some types of pneumonia often are fatal if not treated but can be cured with antibiotic medications. Antibiotics have a low rate of adverse events. The risk/benefit ratio of antibiotic treatment for serious pneumonia is low. This means that the risk of an adverse event is low compared to the probability of improvement from the treatment.