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CME: Best Practices and Advances in Treatment Strategies in Bipolar Disorder Pharmacotherapy


Activity Description / Statement of Need:

In this online CME self-learning activity:

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression. It affects 3-4% of the U.S. population, represents a substantial societal and economic burden in the United States, is also found to be strongly associated with other major public health concerns like diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as suicide.

The literature demonstrates that medication nonadherence is a major issue among patients with bipolar disorder. Nonadherence affects approximately 60% of patients and can result in hospitalization, poor effectiveness, increased relapses, and increased risk of morbidity. Other factors, such as patient perceptions, illness severity, and the relationship between the physician and patient, come into play and should be taken into account to optimize adherence.


Target Audience:

Healthcare professionals specializing in: family medicine, internal medicine, mental health, neurology and psychiatry, or those who otherwise commonly care for patients with bipolar or related psychiatric diseases.

This program is supported by an educational grant from Sunonvion.

Release Date: February 02, 2018 -- Expiration Date: February 02, 2020

Faculty: Claudia Baldassano, MD



Bipolar disorder’s epidemiology, etiology, neuropathophysiology, presentation, comorbidities, and psychosocial impact

  • Statistics: prevalence
  • Etiology
  • Role of genetics
  • Non-genetic contributors: hormones and neurotransmitters, the environment, trauma
  • Clinical presentation, development, and course of disorder
  • Diagnostic criteria: clinical pearls
    • Mania and hypomania
    • Depression, mixed features, and cyclothymia
  • The patient’s interaction with, functional role in, and impact on society
  • Differential diagnosis and comorbid neuropsychiatric conditions: MDD, GAD, PTSD, ADHD, substance abuse, personality disorders, and secondary causes of mania
  • Risk of suicide
  • Patient case(s)

Treatment with an emphasis on bipolar disorder

  • Firmly establishing goals of therapy
  • Non-pharmacologic therapy, briefly reviewed as antecedent and adjunct to pharmacotherapy
  • Pharmacological, first-line and beyond
    • Acute therapy
    • Maintenance therapy
    • Pharmacologic treatments
      • Drug classes
      • Individual medications: conventional, recently approved, and investigational
      • Adherence concerns and other barriers to optimal care
      • At-risk patient populations (adolescents, elderly, patients with comorbid diseases, etc)
      • Clinical pearls: treatment resistant cases
      • Best practice: putting it all together
      • Patient case(s)


Learning Objectives

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

  • Describe the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and the role the neurotransmitters play in them
  • Describe the benefits and risks of pharmacotherapy for patients presenting with bipolar disorder and take them into account when formulating treatment plans for patients.
  • Recommend therapy changes in patients with bipolar disorder who are unable to tolerate a prescribed treatment
  • Identify barriers to care in patients with bipolar disorder and develop strategies to abate them



Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of COI

As a provider of continuing medical education, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of its educational activities. In accordance with this policy, faculty and educational planners must disclose any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, and any relationships with the commercial supporter of the activity. The intent of this disclosure is to provide the intended audience with information on which they can make their own judgments. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest (COI) does exist, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure that the COI is resolved in order to ensure the integrity of the CME activity. For this CME activity, any COI has been resolved thru content review ScientiaCME.


Faculty Disclosure:  Claudia Baldassano, M.D. has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.


Faculty DOES plan to discuss off-label or investigational uses of a commercial product.


Disclosures of Educational Planners: Charles Turck, PharmD has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.


Commercial Support Disclosure: This program is supported by an educational grant from Sunovion


  • Read the learning objectives above
  • Take the Pre-Test (optional). Completion of the pre-test will help us evaluate the knowledge gained by participating in this CME activity.
  • View the online activity. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.
  • Minimum participation threshold: Take the post-test. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass and proceed to the activity evaluation.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you immediately.

Cultural/Linguistic Competence & Health Disparities

System Requirements

Windows 7 or above
Internet Explorer 8
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Mac OS 10.2.8
Safari or Chrome or Firefox
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Internet Explorer is not supported on the Macintosh

*Required to view Printable PDF Version

Perform Pre-Test (optional)

Please take a few minutes to participate in the optional pre-test. It will help us measure the knowledge gained by participating in this activity.

Additional Courses That Are Related To This Activity

Updates in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Pharmacotherapy and Barriers to Optimal Care

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): Therapeutic Updates and Best Practices

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Updates from the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting (APA) 2017

Schizophrenia: Updates from the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting (APA) 2017