A revision of the 2000 British Association for Psychopharmacology evidence-based guidelines for treating depressive disorders with antidepressants was undertaken to incorporate new evidence and to update the recommendations where appropriate. A consensus meeting involving experts in depressive disorders and their management was held in May 2006. Key areas in treating depression were reviewed, and the strength of evidence and clinical implications were considered. The guidelines were drawn up after extensive feedback from participants and interested parties. A literature review is provided, which identifies the quality of evidence to inform the recommendations, the strength of which are based on the level of evidence. These guidelines cover the nature and detection of depressive disorders, acute treatment with antidepressant drugs, choice of drug versus alternative treatment, practical issues in prescribing and management, next-step treatment, relapse prevention, treatment of relapse, and stopping treatment.