• bipolar disorder;
  • depression;
  • guidelines;
  • maintenance;
  • mania;
  • treatment

In 2005, the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) published guidelines for the management of bipolar disorder. This update reviews new evidence since the previous publication and incorporates recommendations based on the most current evidence for treatment of various phases of bipolar disorder. It is designed to be used in conjunction with the 2005 CANMAT Guidelines. The recommendations for the management of acute mania remain mostly unchanged. Lithium, valproate and several atypical antipsychotics continue to be recommended as first-line treatments for acute mania. For the management of bipolar depression, new data support quetiapine monotherapy as a first-line option. Lithium and lamotrigine monotherapy, olanzapine plus selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), and lithium or divalproex plus SSRI/bupropion continue to remain the other first-line options. First-line options in the maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder continue to be lithium, lamotrigine, valproate and olanzapine. There is recent evidence to support the combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine as a second-line maintenance therapy for bipolar depression. New data also support quetiapine monotherapy as a second-line option for the management of acute bipolar II depression. The importance of comorbid psychiatric and medical conditions cannot be understated, and this update provides an expanded look at the prevalence, impact and management of comorbid conditions in patients with bipolar disorder.