© 2016 Muñoz-Navarro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Introduction Panic disorder is a common anxiety disorder and is highly prevalent in Spanish primary care centres. The use of validated tools can improve the detection of panic disorder in primary care populations, thus enabling referral for specialized treatment. The aim of this study is to determine the accuracy of the Patient Health Questionnaire-Panic Disorder (PHQ-PD) as a screening and diagnostic tool for panic disorder in Spanish primary care centres. Method We compared the psychometric properties of the PHQ-PD to the reference standard, the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) interview. General practitioners referred 178 patients who completed the entire PHQ test, including the PHQ-PD, to undergo the SCID-I. The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values and positive and negative likelihood ratios of the PHQ-PD were assessed. Results The operating characteristics of the PHQ-PD are moderate. The best cut-off score was 5 (sensitivity .77, specificity .72). Modifications to the questionnaire's algorithms improved test characteristics (sensitivity .77, specificity .72) compared to the original algorithm. The screening question alone yielded the highest sensitivity score (.83). Conclusion Although the modified algorithm of the PHQ-PD only yielded moderate results as a diagnostic test for panic disorder, it was better than the original. Using only the first question of the PHQ-PD showed the best psychometric properties (sensitivity). Based on these findings, we suggest the use of the screening questions for screening purposes and the modified algorithm for diagnostic purposes.