Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2019 Mar;17(2):155-169. 10.9758/cpn.2019.17.2.155.

Korean Medication Algorithm for Bipolar Disorder 2018: Comparisons with Other Treatment Guidelines

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Haeundae Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University and Paik Institute for Clinical Research, Department of Health Science and Technology, Graduate School of Inje University, Busan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Health Science and Technology, Graduate School of Inje University, Busan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Jeju National University Hospital, Jeju, Korea.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Keyo Hospital, Keyo Medical Foundation, Uiwang, Korea.
  • 6Department of Psychiatry, Soonchunhyang University Cheonan Hospital, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Korea.
  • 7Department of Psychiatry, Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University, Anyang, Korea.
  • 8Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Konkuk University, Chungju, Korea.
  • 9Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 10Department of Psychiatry, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 11Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 12Department of Psychiatry, Naju National Hospital, Naju, Korea.


The objective of this study was to compare recommendations of the Korean Medication Algorithm Project for Bipolar Disorder 2018 (KMAP-BP 2018) with other recently published guidelines for treating bipolar disorder. We reviewed a total of five recently published global treatment guidelines and compared treatment recommendation of the KMAP-BP 2018 with those of other guidelines. For initial treatment of mania, there were no significant differences across treatment guidelines. All guidelines recommended mood stabilizer (MS) or atypical antipsychotic (AAP) monotherapy or a combination of an MS with an AAP as a first-line treatment strategy for mania. However, the KMAP-BP 2018 did not prefer monotherapy with MS or AAP for psychotic mania. Quetiapine, olanzapine and aripiprazole were the first-line AAPs for nearly all phases of bipolar disorder across guidelines. Most guidelines advocated newer AAPs as first-line treatment options for all phases while lamotrigine was recommended for depressive and maintenance phases. Lithium and valproic acid were commonly used as MSs in all phases of bipolar disorder. As research evidence accumulated over time, recommendations of newer AAPs (such as asenapine, cariprazine, paliperidone, lurasidine, long-acting injectable risperidone and aripiprazole once monthly) became prominent. KMAP-BP 2018 guidelines were similar to other guidelines, reflecting current changes in prescription patterns for bipolar disorder based on accumulated research data. Strong preference for combination therapy was characteristic of KMAP-BP 2018, predominantly in the treatment of psychotic mania and severe depression. Further studies were needed to address several issues identified in our review.


Bipolar disorder; Pharmacotherapy; Algorithm; Treatment guideline; Korean Medication Algorithm Project for Bipolar Disorder 2018

MeSH Terms

Bipolar Disorder*
Drug Therapy
Paliperidone Palmitate
Quetiapine Fumarate
Valproic Acid
Paliperidone Palmitate
Quetiapine Fumarate
Valproic Acid
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