It is disappointing to see the poor quality journalism in the headline in GP magazine (26 May) 'NSAIDs raise heart failure risk by 30%'.
Even non-medical news organisations, such as the BBC and national newpapers, now recognise that to present data simply in terms of relative risk is misleading and thus unhelpful.
Absolute risk should be used as the point of reference. In this case, absolute risk would be a statement of the number of extra admissions to hospital per 1,000 people taking NSAIDs.
Even The Times, correctly stated in its article on the same data (22 May), that the number of extra admissions is about 1 per 1,000 users per annum - a far cry from the rather sensationalist tone of your headline.
That NSAIDs increase HF risk has also been known (see Epidemiology 2003; 14: 240-6).
The problem with relative risk is that a small number, even when increased by 30 per cent, remains a small number.
Dr Jeremy Budd, Bridgwater, Somerset.