World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for biological treatment of unipolar depressive disorders, part 1: update 2013 on the acute and continuation treatment of unipolar depressive disorders

World J Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jul;14(5):334-85. doi: 10.3109/15622975.2013.804195. Epub 2013 Jul 3.


Objectives: This 2013 update of the practice guidelines for the biological treatment of unipolar depressive disorders was developed by an international Task Force of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP). The goal has been to systematically review all available evidence pertaining to the treatment of unipolar depressive disorders, and to produce a series of practice recommendations that are clinically and scientifically meaningful based on the available evidence. The guidelines are intended for use by all physicians seeing and treating patients with these conditions.

Methods: The 2013 update was conducted by a systematic update literature search and appraisal. All recommendations were approved by the Guidelines Task Force.

Results: This first part of the guidelines (Part 1) covers disease definition, classification, epidemiology, and course of unipolar depressive disorders, as well as the management of the acute and continuation phase treatment. It is primarily concerned with the biological treatment (including antidepressants, other psychopharmacological medications, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy, adjunctive and novel therapeutic strategies) of adults.

Conclusions: To date, there is a variety of evidence-based antidepressant treatment options available. Nevertheless there is still a substantial proportion of patients not achieving full remission. In addition, somatic and psychiatric comorbidities and other special circumstances need to be more thoroughly investigated. Therefore, further high-quality informative randomized controlled trials are urgently needed.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Phototherapy
  • Psychotherapy


  • Antidepressive Agents