Nine RCTs (n= at least 1,862) were included in the analysis. The methodological quality of the included RCTs varied with the majority of studies scoring less than half the criteria.
Improving Glycaemic Control
Three RCTs reported A1C levels at three months. Due to the presence of statistical heterogeneity (I2 statistic = 67%) these results were not pooled.
There was a significant reduction at six months in mean A1C of -21 per cent (95% CI: -0.38%, -0.04%) for participants in the SMBG group compared to control group (five RCTs). There were no statistically significant differences in mean A1C at one year between groups (four RCTs). There was no evidence of statistical heterogeneity for these analyses.
Subgroup analysis found no statistically significant differences in results between high-quality and low-quality RCTs or for analyses adjusted for baseline A1C levels. Meta-regression analysis found higher baseline A1C levels were associated with lesser efficacy of SMBG (p=0.06). There was no evidence of publication bias.
SMBG was associated with an increase in the frequency of recognised hypoglycaemia in three RCTs.