Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a type of medical procedure used in the adjunctive treatment for a number of intractable epilepsy types and for treatment-resistant depression. This is a non drug treatment option designed to reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with partial seizures or generalized seizures that are refractory to anti-epileptic medications.
The alternative treatment is offered by numerous suppliers and medical professionals. Cyberonics is one of them and we will be referring to it throughout this review. The company founded in 1987 pioneered The VNS therapy system and still manufactures a special device required during the procedure.
FDA approved The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy as an adjunctive therapy for partial-onset epilepsy in 1997. Eight years later, in 2005, FDA approved the use of VNS for treatment-resistant depression, a decision which still is highly controversial.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Ingredients
The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy has been clinically proven to reduce the intensity and number of seizures and, in some cases, to completely eliminate them. Long term effective seizure control, without wear-off results is another proven benefit of VNS.
The treatment works by affecting the activity of the vague nerve, one of the primary communication channels between the body and the brain. During the procedure, the vague nerve is stimulated and thus electrical irregularities that cause seizures are prevented. Prior to starting treatment, a careful assessment is usually conducted in order to determine if a patient is a good candidate or not.
VNS Therapy is delivered by a device (generator) similar to a pacemaker, which is placed under the skin through a minimally invasive surgery procedure.
Common side effects of include shortness of breath, temporary hoarseness or changes in voice tone, coughing and a tickling sensation in the throat. These side effects generally occur during stimulation periods and according to the manufacturer typically decrease over time.
- This is a FDA-approved treatment
- The whole treatment is based on a minimal invasive procedure
- The treatment is expensive
- The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy was associated with several mild side effects
The VNS therapy is a non-drug treatment alternative for people suffering from a seizure disorder or treatment-resistant depression, in both cases the treatment having been approved by the FDA. Many patients have agreed that the procedure is effective with little side effects.
However, the cost of therapy may prove to be high and not always and in all cases covered by an insurance scheme. Also, not all patients may access the treatment; hence a complete health evaluation is required prior to placing the device and starting treatment.