AimsBipolar disorder (BD) is a severe psychiatric disorder associated with a high risk of suicide. This meta-analysis examined the prevalence of suicide attempts (SA) in patients with BD and its associated factors.MethodsA systematic literature search was conducted in the PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE and Web of Science databases from their inception to 11 June 2018. The prevalence of SA in BD was synthesised using the random-effects model.ResultsThe search identified 3451 articles of which 79 studies with 33 719 subjects met the study entry criteria. The lifetime prevalence of SA was 33.9% (95% CI 31.3-36.6%; I2 = 96.4%). Subgroup and meta-regression analyses revealed that the lifetime prevalence of SA was positively associated with female gender, BD-I, BD Not Otherwise Specified and rapid cycling BD subtypes, income level and geographic region.ConclusionThis meta-analysis confirmed that SA is common in BD and identified a number of factors related to SA. Further efforts are necessary to facilitate the identification and prevention of SA in BD. Long-term use of mood stabilisers coupled with psycho-social interventions should be available to BD patients to reduce the risk of suicidal behaviour.