BACKGROUND/AIMS Despite availability of a broad spectrum of blood pressure (BP)-lowering drugs many hypertensive patients do not attain BP goals. We aimed to evaluate the influence of home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) on patient's awareness and attainment of BP goals under antihypertensive treatment with irbesartan alone or in combination with hydro-chlorothiazide.
METHODS In total, 1,268 patients with arterial hypertension were enrolled in the Factors Influencing Results in anti-hypertenSive Treatment (FIRST) study by 348 general practitioners and internal medicine specialists across Switzerland. Patients selected for HBPM received detailed information and training on BP self-management. The study endpoints included patient's awareness and attainment of BP goals, and the efficacy and tolerability of antihypertensive treatment at 3 months.
RESULTS Overall, the mean age was 61±13 years and 616 (49%) were women. The mean systolic/diastolic BP was 161±17/96±11 mmHg, and 239 (19%) patients had diabetes mellitus. 758 (60%) patients were instructed to use HBPM. Both the proportion of patients aware of their BP goals (81% vs. 70%; p< 0.001) and the percentage of patients reaching their BP goal (64% vs. 57%; p=0.028) were higher in those with vs. without HBPM. The mean reduction in systolic/diastolic BP was 23.8/13.2 mmHg. Only 35 (3.0%) patients discontinued antihypertensive therapy.
CONCLUSION In a large Swiss cohort of patients with arterial hypertension, information and training on BP self-measurement and direct involvement of patients by using HBPM led to improvement in BP control. Treatment with irbesartan alone or in combination with hydrochlorothiazide was well tolerated and markedly reduced BP.