You are here > > Health > Bipolar > Medication

Bipolar | Symptoms | Treatment | Testing | Children with bipolar | Medication | People with the disorder | Support | Depression and bipolar

The main medication used to treat bipolar disorder attempts to stabilise the destructive mood swings synonymous with the condition. The three main types of drugs prescribed in the UK for bipolar are lithium carbonate, anti-convulsant medicines and anti-psychotic medicines.

Lithium carbonate; the most common bipolar drug, tries to address the episodes of mania, hypomania and depression. It is a long term medicine, usually prescribed for at least six months.

The dosage of lithium carbonate used is of vital importance. If the dosage is incorrect, the drug can cause a range of side effects including diarrhea and sickness. It's also important to continue taking the medication for as long as your doctor recommends. Suddenly stopping the drug can again cause adverse health issues.

Lithium carbonate is the only licensed medication in the UK for the treatment of bipolar in children over the age of twelve. Children under twelve should not be given any medication at all. In exceptional circumstances, unlicensed medicines may be prescribed for children if there are no suitable alternatives.

The second type of medication prescribed for bipolar disorder; anti-convulsant medicines, are sometimes used to treat episodes of mania. Common forms of this medicine include valproate, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine. Each has it's own benefits and potential side effects. Your doctor will advise you as to most suitable choice for you.

The third type of drug used in cases of bipolar disorder; anti-psychotic medicines, are also used to treat episodes of mania or hypomania. Common forms of this medicine include olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone. Anti-psychotic medication is predominantly prescribed to patients with extreme bipolarsymptoms. They can help reduce the severity of the individual's manic episodes. However, once again, there are many possible side effects associated with this type of medication including blurred vision, constipation and weight gain.

Common Health Questions

What are the risks of a gastrointestinal bypass procedure?

What are the possible side effects after a laser eye operation?

Fertility & Pregnancy


Artificial insemination
Learn about the costs, risks and probability of success from this infertility procedure.

Treatment abroad
What you need to know about having fertility treatment overseas.

Gender selection
A guide to the legal and moral aspects of choosing the sex of your baby.

Diet & Weight Loss