The British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines specify the scope and targets of treatment for bipolar disorder. The third version is based explicitly on the available evidence and presented, like previous Clinical Practice Guidelines, as recommendations to aid clinical decision making for practitioners: it may also serve as a source of information for patients and carers, and assist audit. The recommendations are presented together with a more detailed review of the corresponding evidence. A consensus meeting, involving experts in bipolar disorder and its treatment, reviewed key areas and considered the strength of evidence and clinical implications. The guidelines were drawn up after extensive feedback from these participants. The best evidence from randomized controlled trials and, where available, observational studies employing quasi-experimental designs was used to evaluate treatment options. The strength of recommendations has been described using the GRADE approach. The guidelines cover the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, clinical management, and strategies for the use of medicines in short-term treatment of episodes, relapse prevention and stopping treatment. The use of medication is integrated with a coherent approach to psychoeducation and behaviour change.
Keywords: Bipolar disorder; antidepressants; antipsychotics; cognitive behaviour therapy; evidence-based guidelines; lithium; mood stabilizers; psychoeducation; treatment.
© The Author(s) 2016.