The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of aripiprazole (Abilify) as an option for treating moderate to severe manic episodes in adolescents with bipolar disorder. 

This latest guidance follows the 2006 clinical guideline on the overall management of bipolar disorder in adults, children and adolescents, and focuses on the use of aripiprazole for the specific treatment in adolescents aged 13 and older.

The drug is already recommended for people aged 15 and above. Professor Carole Longson, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition which is characterised by episodes of mania and depression. During a manic episode, the young person usually experiences irritability, poor concentration, little need for sleep and poor temper control. They may also feel over-confident and be driven to take unnecessary risks." 

Acute manic episodes not only have a huge impact on the young person in terms of school, work and social life, but also on those around them - particularly their family or carers. "Because of this it is really important that manic episodes are treated quickly and effectively so that young people and their families can return to normal in terms of schooling, work and family life as quickly as possible." 

"As aripiprazole works as well as the existing treatment, our independent appraisal committee now recommends it as an option for treating moderate to severe manic episodes in adolescents aged 13 or older with bipolar I disorder.”