In reply: We thank Bailey and Naganathan for their thoughtful viewpoint regarding prescribing according to clinical trial criteria. We agree that prescribing in the real world often involves complex decision making, taking into account age, comorbidities, concomitant medications and other factors, whereby guidance regarding individual patients cannot readily be extracted from clinical trial literature. This may certainly contribute to underutilisation of evidence-based drug treatment.1 Nevertheless, several analyses support the contention that physicians who more closely adhere to evidence-based guidelines (which in turn are derived from randomised clinical trials) produce better outcomes for their patients.2,3 Therefore, we would still advocate prescribing as closely as possible to guideline recommendations, while acknowledging that these recommendations may not always be readily applicable to every patient.
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