• acute treatment;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • evidence-based review;
  • guidelines;
  • maintenance treatment;
  • treatment

Malhi GS, Bargh DM, McIntyre R, Gitlin M, Frye MA, Bauer M, Berk M. Balanced efficacy, safety, and tolerability recommendations for the clinical management of bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 2012: 14 (Suppl. 2): 1–21. © 2012 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Objective:  To provide practical and clinically meaningful treatment recommendations that amalgamate clinical experience and research findings for each phase of bipolar disorder.

Methods:  A comprehensive search of the literature was undertaken using electronic database search engines (Medline, PubMed, Cochrane reviews) using key words (e.g., bipolar depression, mania, treatment). All relevant randomised controlled trials were examined, along with review papers, meta-analyses, and book chapters known to the authors. In addition, the recommendations from accompanying papers in this supplement have been distilled and captured in the form of summary boxes. The findings, in conjunction with the clinical experience of international researchers and clinicians who are practiced in treating mood disorders, formed the basis of the treatment recommendations within this paper.

Results:  Balancing clinical experience with evidence informed and lead to the development of practical clinical recommendations that emphasise the importance of safety and tolerability alongside efficacy in the clinical management of bipolar disorder.

Conclusions:  The current paper summarises the treatment recommendations relating to each phase of bipolar disorder while providing additional, evidence-based, practical insights. Medication-related side effects and monitoring strategies highlight the importance of safety and tolerability considerations, which, along with efficacy information, should be given equal merit.