• evidence-based medicine;
  • practice guidelines;
  • asthma;
  • rhinitis;
  • Cochrane

 Clinical guidelines are ‘systematically developed statements to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances’. They may offer concise instructions on which diagnostic or screening tests to order, stipulate how medical services should be provided, how long patients should stay in hospital, or many other details relevant to clinical practice. This paper argues that guidelines should be simple, adapted to the clinical setting they inform and to treatment availability in their respective geographic context and that they should not be viewed as a yardstick but as support for physicians. The benefits of evidence-based-medicine (EBM), which defines the value of medical interventions in terms of empiric evidence from clinical trials, are growing in many contexts and are well described. Not sufficiently acknowledged, however, are the limits of EBM. A gap still exists between clinical research and clinical practice which should be better recognized and assessed.