The Effect of Self-Monitoring of Blood Pressure on Medication Adherence and Lifestyle Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Am J Hypertens. 2015 Oct;28(10):1209-21. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpv008. Epub 2015 Feb 26.


Background: Self-monitoring of blood pressure (SMBP) can contribute to reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension. Potential mediators include increased medication, improved adherence, and changes in lifestyle factors including dietary change and increased physical activity. The objective of this review was to determine the effect of SMBP on medication adherence, medication persistence, and lifestyle factors in people with hypertension.

Methods: Electronic bibliographic databases were searched through February 2014 to identify randomized controlled trials that compared SMBP to control/usual care in ambulatory hypertensive patients and reported medication or nonpharmacologic treatment adherence measures.

Results: Twenty-eight trials with 7,021 participants fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Medication adherence was assessed in 25 trials (89%), dietary outcomes in 8 (29%), physical activity in 6 (21%), and medication persistence in 1 (4%). Blood pressure was assessed in 26 studies (93%). Follow-up ranged from 2 weeks to 12 months. Pooled results of 13 studies demonstrated a small but significant overall effect on medication adherence in favor of SMBP interventions (standardized mean difference 0.21, 95% CI 0.08, 0.34), with moderate heterogeneity (I2 = 43%). Standardized mean difference was used to express the size of intervention effect in each study relative to the variability observed, and was used to combine the results of studies where different measures of medication adherence were used. Where SMBP interventions had a significant effect on lifestyle factor change, the effect was unlikely to be clinically significant. Pooled results of 11 studies demonstrate a significant overall effect on diastolic blood pressure in favor of SMBP (weighted mean difference -2.02, 95% CI -2.93, -1.11), with low heterogeneity (I2 = 0%). A test for subgroup differences showed no difference when studies were grouped according to whether medication adherence was significantly improved or not.

Conclusions: SMBP may contribute to improvements in medication adherence in hypertensives. However, evidence for the effect of SMBP on lifestyle change and medication persistence is scarce, of poor quality, and suggests little clinically relevant benefit.

Keywords: adherence; blood pressure; hypertension; meta-analysis; non-pharmacologic; self-monitoring..

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Life Style
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Self Care*


  • Antihypertensive Agents