Selecting Appropriate Treatments for Maintenance Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

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Long-term management of bipolar disorder is a crucial component of treatment because the recurrence of the illness negatively affects patients' daily lives and increases their risks for poor health and suicide. An ideal maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder is relatively simple to take, prevents recurrence of both manic and depressive episodes, and is well-tolerated over the long term. Although many different types of medications are used for maintenance therapy of bipolar disorder, none can be considered ideal for a majority of people with bipolar disorder, and each specific form of therapy has different strengths and limitations. Clinicians need to be aware of unique efficacy and side effect factors when choosing long-term therapy and consider treatment components, goals, and individual patient characteristics, which are essential to the successful long-term management of bipolar disorder. Additionally, several forms of psychotherapy specifically tailored to the needs of people with bipolar disorder should be considered as an adjunct to medication.

J Clin Psychiatry 2008;69(suppl 5):28-35