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Magellan updates clinical practice guideline for bipolar disorder

A Magellan clinical task force recently approved updates to the organization’s clinical practice guideline (CPG) introduction for the treatment of patients with a bipolar disorder. The guidelines for PTSD and ASD, schizophrenia, obesity and panic disorder were reviewed as well, but there were no changes.

Magellan’s bipolar disorder CPG introduction accompanies the adopted American Psychiatric Association (APA) Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder (2002), Second Edition, and the APA Guideline Watch: Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder (2005), Second Edition.


We encourage providers to familiarize themselves with the relevant APA materials on bipolar disorder in addition to Magellan’s accompanying introduction. Magellan’s current update incorporates review of clinical literature published through May 2017.

New information in Magellan's introduction

Highlights of the 2017 introduction update include the following:
  • A review of the role of neurobiology, genetics and psychosocial risk factors in the expression of bipolar disorders, and a summary of evidence-based treatments
  • A review (appearing in the guideline addendum) of research on psychiatric and substance use disorder co-morbidity with bipolar illness
  • Addition of a medical co-morbidity section that addresses the greater mortality rates of individuals with bipolar disorder due to the presence of chronic medical illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune diseases and cancer
  • New medication and psychosocial treatment recommendations, added in the guideline sections concerning acute manic episodes, acute depressive episodes and rapid cycling periods, and maintenance treatment
  • Description of improved patient outcomes via use of collaborative care models in the treatment of bipolar disorder
  • Identification of psychotherapies such as CBT, group psychoeducation, family-focused treatment and IPSRT (Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy) as effective adjuncts to pharmacotherapy to delay or prevent relapses and stabilize illness episodes. 

Accessing the APA guidelines

Please visit the Clinical Practice Guidelines page of Magellan’s provider website to review CPGs addressing a full range of behavioral health disorders, including links to the APA guidelines.

Provider feedback

Magellan welcomes feedback on our clinical practice guidelines. We take all suggestions and recommendations into consideration in our ongoing reviews of the guidelines. You can submit comments to:

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