Self-monitoring in Type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis


Dr M. C. Gulliford, Department of Public Health Sciences, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College London, Capital House, 42 Weston St, London SE1 3QD, UK. Email:



Aims  Self-monitoring of blood or urine glucose is widely used by subjects with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the technique at improving blood glucose control through a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods  Randomized controlled trials were identified that compared the effects of blood or urine glucose monitoring with no self-monitoring, or blood glucose self-monitoring with urine glucose self-monitoring, on glycated haemoglobin as primary outcome in Type 2 diabetes.

Results   Eight reports were identified. These were rated for quality and data were abstracted. The mean (sd) quality score was 15.0 (1.69) on a scale ranging from 0 to 28. No study had sufficient power to detect differences in glycated haemoglobin (GHb) of less than 0.5%. One study was excluded because it was a cluster randomized trial of a complex intervention and one because fructosamine was used as the outcome measure. A meta-analysis was performed using data from four studies that compared blood or urine monitoring with no regular monitoring. The estimated reduction in GHb from monitoring was −0.25% (95% confidence interval −0.61 to 0.10%). Three studies that compared blood glucose monitoring with urine glucose monitoring were also combined. The estimated reduction in GHb from monitoring blood glucose rather than urine glucose was −0.03% (−0.52 to 0.47%).

Conclusions  The results do not provide evidence for clinical effectiveness of an item of care with appreciable costs. Further work is needed to evaluate self-monitoring so that resources for diabetes care can be used more efficiently.