Just as for assessing treatment benefits, aggregate data on side-effects can be misleading. Thus, when comparing two types of corticosteroids, one may find that the mean decrease in skin thickness is similar in the two groups. Yet, if by further scrutiny of the individual data, one finds that two children in one group developed skin thinning with noticeable visible striae, then that might influence your decision to use such treatment despite the relative reassurance of the group means. Even when such adverse events are very rare, this may be of little comfort to the patient in the sense that it is an all-or-nothing predetermined event.
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