Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Background Paper 6 - Priority Diseases and Reasons for Inclusion. BP 6.15 - Depression
(2013; 75 pages)


This paper is an update of the background paper for Chapter 6.15 of the 2004 Priority Medicines for Europe and the World.

(Published at:

This background paper describes demographic trends and the burden of disease of major depression disorder (MDD) for the European Union Member States and the world as a whole, assesses the current treatment options available for MDD as well as the treatments under development and makes recommendations on future research priorities.

The paper demonstrates data and trends derived (mainly) from the recently published 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. It particularly addresses the epidemiology, the burden of disease, treatment options, and the economic impact of MDD. Furthermore, this background paper describes specific groups within the society that are often misdiagnosed and/or undertreated, or not diagnosed and treated at all.

Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. It usually occurs as a result of adverse life events, such as: losses of a significant person, object, relationship or health, but it can also occur due to no apparent cause. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her every day responsibilities. Mood disorders are treatable conditions, with each type requiring different treatment approaches and modalities. Antidepressant medications and psychotherapies offer useful treatment approaches and are commonly employed in treating the debilitating effects of depression. If mood disorders like depression are left untreated for long periods of time, the debilitating effects of depression cause unnecessary suffering that intervenes with people’s daily-life activities.

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