Self-managed BP works best: study

Those who did their own readings at home and self-titrated their dose of medication as needed had lower blood pressure levels after a year than those who got standard doctors' care.

Self-care patients weren't completely on their own – any changes they made were part of a treatment plan previously approved by their doctors. But the patients didn't need to consult their doctors every time they increased the dose if it was part of the original treatment plan.

Why self-management worked best is uncertain, but patients who participated were taking more medication than the others and were perhaps more vigilant than doctors treating the usual-care group, the study suggests.

It's possible usual-care doctors had ‘clinical inertia’ – a phenomenon described in other research showing that doctors often fail to increase blood pressure medication doses even when office measurements show patients' levels are too high, said study author