Response and remission criteria in major depression--a validation of current practice

J Psychiatr Res. 2010 Nov;44(15):1063-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 May 5.


Remission and response were suggested as the most relevant outcome criteria for the treatment of depression. There is still marked uncertainty as to what cut-offs should be used on current depression rating scales. The goal of the present study was to compare the validity of different HAMD, MADRS and BDI cut-offs for response and remission. The naturalistic prospective study was performed in 12 psychiatric hospitals in Germany. All evaluable patients (n=846) were hospitalized and had to meet DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder. Biweekly ratings were assessed using HAMD-21, MADRS and BDI. A CGI-S score of 1 and a CGI-I score of at least 2 was used as the primary comparative measure of remission and response, respectively. A HAMD-21 cut-off ≤7 (AUC: 0.92), HAMD-17 cut-of ≤6 (AUC: 0.90), MADRS cut-off ≤7 (AUC: 0.94) and BDI cut-off ≤12 (AUC: 0.83) were associated with a maximum of specificity and sensitivity for defining remission. A minimum decrease of 47% of the HAMD-21 (AUC: 0.90), ≤57% for HAMD-17 (AUC: 0.89), ≤ 46% for MADRS (0.91) and a decrease of 47% for the BDI baseline score (AUC: 0.78) best corresponded CGI response criteria. Our data largely confirmed currently used remission and response criteria in naturalistically treated patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales*
  • ROC Curve
  • Recurrence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome