This review covers the literature since the publication of DSM-IV on the diagnostic criteria for panic attacks (PAs) and panic disorder (PD). Specific recommendations are made based on the evidence available. In particular, slight changes are proposed for the wording of the diagnostic criteria for PAs to ease the differentiation between panic and surrounding anxiety; simplification and clarification of the operationalization of types of PAs (expected vs. unexpected) is proposed; and consideration is given to the value of PAs as a specifier for all DSM diagnoses and to the cultural validity of certain symptom profiles. In addition, slight changes are proposed for the wording of the diagnostic criteria to increase clarity and parsimony of the criteria. Finally, based on the available evidence, no changes are proposed with regard to the developmental expression of PAs or PD. This review presents a number of options and preliminary recommendations to be considered for DSM-V. Depression and Anxiety, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.