Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care (GLAD-PC): Part II. Treatment and Ongoing Management

Pediatrics. 2018 Mar;141(3):e20174082. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-4082.


Objectives: To update clinical practice guidelines to assist primary care (PC) in the screening and assessment of depression. In this second part of the updated guidelines, we address treatment and ongoing management of adolescent depression in the PC setting.

Methods: By using a combination of evidence- and consensus-based methodologies, the guidelines were updated in 2 phases as informed by (1) current scientific evidence (published and unpublished) and (2) revision and iteration among the steering committee, including youth and families with lived experience.

Results: These updated guidelines are targeted for youth aged 10 to 21 years and offer recommendations for the management of adolescent depression in PC, including (1) active monitoring of mildly depressed youth, (2) treatment with evidence-based medication and psychotherapeutic approaches in cases of moderate and/or severe depression, (3) close monitoring of side effects, (4) consultation and comanagement of care with mental health specialists, (5) ongoing tracking of outcomes, and (6) specific steps to be taken in instances of partial or no improvement after an initial treatment has begun. The strength of each recommendation and the grade of its evidence base are summarized.

Conclusions: The Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care cannot replace clinical judgment, and they should not be the sole source of guidance for adolescent depression management. Nonetheless, the guidelines may assist PC clinicians in the management of depressed adolescents in an era of great clinical need and a shortage of mental health specialists. Additional research concerning the management of depressed youth in PC is needed, including the usability, feasibility, and sustainability of guidelines, and determination of the extent to which the guidelines actually improve outcomes of depressed youth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Primary Health Care / methods
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents