Can anti-seizure medications effectively treat bipolar II disorder?

Husseini K. Manji, M.D.

It’s difficult to say without seeing the specific patient involved. As is the case with any medical condition, the prescribing physician must have a full assessment of the patient’s history, symptoms and current status to make a diagnosis and prescribe medicines.

However, seizure medications are used to treat some aspects of mood disorders. As you likely know, in bipolar II disorder, the individual has depressive episodes and hypo manic episodes. There is some data to suggest that antidepressants can be associated with rapid cycling in bipolar disorder patients. For this reason, some physicians prefer using a “mood stabilizer” (e.g., lithium or certain anticonvulsants) rather than just an antidepressant in individuals they suspect have bipolar II disorder.


Husseini K. Manji, M.D.
Scientific Council Member
Global Therapeutic Area Head, Neuroscience
Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development
Visiting Professor, Duke University