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Report of the Texas Consensus Conference Panel on Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63(4):288-299

Background: The process and outcome of a consensus conference to develop revised algorithms for treatment of bipolar disorder to be implemented in the public mental health system of Texas are described. These medication algorithms for bipolar disorder are an update of those developed for the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, a research study that tested the clinical and economic impact of treatment guidelines for major psychiatric illnesses treated in the Texas public mental health system (Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation [TDMHMR]).

Method: Academic clinicians and researchers, practicing clinicians in the TDMHMR system, administrators, advocates, and consumers participated in a consensus conference in August 2000. Participants attended presentations reviewing new evidence in the pharmacologic treatment of bipolar disorder and discussed the needs of consumers in the TDMHMR system. Principles were enumerated, including balancing of evidence for efficacy, tolerability, and safety in medication choices. A set of 7 distinct algorithms was drafted. In the following months, a subcommittee condensed this product into 2 primary algorithms.

Results: The panel agreed to 2 primary algorithms: treatment of mania/hypomania, including 3 pathways for treatment of euphoric symptoms, mixed or dysphoric symptoms, and psychotic symptoms; and treatment of depressive symptoms. General principles to guide algorithm implementation were discussed and drafted.

Conclusion: The revised algorithms are currently being disseminated and implemented within the Texas public mental health system. The goals of the Texas initiative include increasing the consistency of appropriate treatment of bipolar disorder, encouraging systematic and optimal use of available pharmacotherapies, and improving the outcomes of patients with bipolar disorder.