Weighing up the benefits and risks will enable decision-makers to choose appropriate treatment plans.
All treatments will have both positive and negative features. It is important to consider all the information to decide whether a treatment is more helpful than harmful. The relative importance of the good and bad effects will also influence this decision. For example, a drug may have numerous benefits and few potential risks but if that risk is a high chance of fatal kidney failure for example, the risks may still outweigh the benefits.
The relative importance of each of these effects will also be situation dependent. For example, a medicine to treat ear infections may also cause diarrhoea. If the ear infection is severe or causing extreme discomfort, then treating it might be more important than the negative effects of the diarrhoea. However, if the ear infection is only mild, and may resolve with cleaning, then the negative effects are more important than the potential positive effects. Decisions about the relative benefits of a treatment must always be balanced with their potential harms.
REMEMBER: Ask yourself if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.