Information for the public

About this information

NICE guidelines provide advice on the care and support that should be offered to people who use health and care services.

In February 2020, we updated the advice in our guideline on bipolar disorder with warnings about sodium valproate – a medicine offered to some people with bipolar disorder. Sodium valproate must not be used during pregnancy, and should not be used in girls and women who could get pregnant, unless there is no alternative and a pregnancy prevention plan is in place. This is because of the risk of malformations and developmental abnormalities in the baby.

This information explains the advice about bipolar disorder that is set out in NICE guideline 185.

This is an update of advice on bipolar disorder that NICE produced in 2006.

Does this information apply to me?

Yes, if you are:

  • an adult or young person aged 13–17 with symptoms or a diagnosis of bipolar disorder

  • a family member or carer of someone with bipolar disorder.

Further information for women with bipolar disorder who are planning a baby, are pregnant or have had a baby in the past year is available in our guidance on antenatal and postnatal mental health (see other NICE guidance for details).

  • Information Standard