Medication for bipolar II disorder

What is bipolar II disorder?

Bipolar II disorder is a common, recurrent, and disabling psychiatric illness. The lifetime incidence ranges from 1% to 11% depending on the method of diagnosis. DSM-IV defines bipolar II disorder as a lifetime history of at least one episode of major depression plus at least one episode of hypomania. By definition, individuals with bipolar II disorder never experience full-blown mania, unlike those with a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder. Bipolar II disorder is characterised by multiple and often protracted depressive episodes and a lower probability of returning to premorbid levels of functioning between episodes.

What is the evidence for treatments for bipolar II disorder?

Moderate to low quality evidence suggests the antipsychotic quetiapine may be an effective treatment for bipolar II depression. Low quality evidence is uncertain as to the benefits of other medications.

November 2021

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Last updated at: 5:30 pm, 15th February 2022
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