Which medications are recommended in bipolar II disorder?

Most available guidelines only give recommendations on treating bipolar I disorder (BPI). This is because most high-quality research on treatments has been done in patients with BPI.

Only one set of up-to-date guidelines includes recommendations about medication to prevent relapse of bipolar II disorder (BPII). There is evidence for three types of common medications:

Medication options

These three medication options are presented in detail in the following sections. For a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of these medication options, see Summary table of advantages and disadvantages of medication options.

There is a similar amount of evidence for the three medication options presented on this website. Because only very few studies have looked at medication in BPII separately, recommendations about medication are based on a combination of research and what most clinicians agree are the most appropriate treatment options (clinical consensus) .

However, these are not your only options of medications to prevent relapse. Your clinician may also recommend:

  • a combination of these medications
  • another mood-stabilising medication (e.g. sodium valproate or olanzapine)
  • antidepressant medication (e.g. fluoxetine or sertraline).
The medication option your clinician recommends to you will depend on your individual needs and situation/life circumstances.