What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy?
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy, or VNS Therapy®, is an FDA-approved treatment option for patients with treatment-resistant depression and drug-resistant epilepsy. It has been recognized as a safe and effective therapy for the adjunctive treatment of chronic or recurrent depression in patients who have not responded to at least four types of antidepressant treatments. VNS Therapy® involves the use of a small device that is surgically implanted just under the skin, below the collarbone, which delivers mild electrical pulses to the vagus nerve.
Indication and Efficacy
VNS Therapy® is indicated for the adjunctive treatment of chronic or recurrent depression (both unipolar and bipolar) in patients 18 years or older who are currently experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had success with at least four types of antidepressant treatments. These treatments may include medications (pills and tablets) or other non-drug therapies like talk therapy, repetitive trans-magnetic stimulation (rTMS), or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Numerous research studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of VNS Therapy® in treating treatment-resistant depression. In a 5-year study involving 795 patients with difficult-to-treat depression, VNS Therapy® combined with traditional treatment showed superior reduction in depression symptoms compared to traditional treatment alone. Almost 7 in 10 patients experienced a significant improvement in their depressive symptoms, and more than 4 in 10 patients achieved full or near-full recovery from their depressive symptoms.
How VNS Therapy® Works
During a short outpatient procedure, a trained surgeon implants the VNS Therapy® device just below the skin, near the collarbone. The device then delivers mild electrical pulses to the vagus nerve, which is located in the neck. These pulses travel up to the brain and can help improve the patient’s overall mood and well-being.
Common Side Effects
As with any medical procedure, VNS Therapy® may have some associated side effects. The most common side effects reported include:
- Hoarseness or changes in voice
- Prickling or tingling sensation in the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Increased coughing
It is important to note that the most commonly reported side effect resulting from the implant procedure is infection, which occurs in approximately 1.6% of cases.
If you would like to learn more about VNS Therapy® for treatment-resistant depression and hear patient testimonies, the following resources are available:
RECOVER Study Trial: Explore more information about the RECOVER Study Trial by visiting https://RECOVERvns.com.
Symmetry VNS Therapy Generator: Discover the first VNS Therapy generator specifically designed for difficult-to-treat depression by visiting www.SymmetryVNS.com.
Partnering with LivaNova
We are proud to announce our partnership with LivaNova, a leading medical device company specializing in neuromodulation therapies. This partnership allows us to offer VNS Therapy® to our patients, providing them with an innovative and effective treatment option for treatment-resistant depression.
For more information about VNS Therapy® and its potential benefits, or to schedule a consultation, please contact us