Jump to content

Vagal Nerve Stimulator for Depression

Recommended Posts

  • 4 weeks later...

Can anyone help me with imformation on VNS for depression. I would like to know how it works, and if it has helped anyone. Thanks !!!


I'm afraid it was not approved by the FDA.  The inventors tried and tried, but could NOT prove it was better than the miracle drug "Placebo". 

Now what I'm wondering about is "Deep Brain Simulation".  They  actually  implant electrodes in the brain. I'd be too scared to volunteer for a clinical trial even if there were one near me - fear of infection mostly - but it does seem to work. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actualy, I'm pretty sure it's been aproved.

You may be thinking of cranial nerve stimulation that has not been aproved.


You are quite right, VE. It WAS approved in 04 by the FDA.  What I am remembering is that it stirred quite a controversy (intensely followed by my brother who has stock in Cyberonics which patented the device) .

It has the notable distinction of having been approved DESPITE not having demonstrated it worked better than Placebo in a double blind trial.  To quote from a  article in Psychiatry Online linking from Internal Medecine news (bolds mine):

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's some more really upsetting stuff from the article

Cardiovascular events in the first 3 months included 10 cases of palpitations, 2 cases of syncope, and 21 cases of dizziness, but no evidence of sudden death caused by VNS was seen. Three deaths occurred; one involved a sudden death that might have been related to VNS. An autopsy was not performed.

At the meeting, Carlos Pe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder what the vagus nerve has got to do with depression? I guess it has inputs to parasympathetic ares, but depression? I havn't seen much research on it (maybe I havn't been reading enough) but yeah, such a thing sounds dangerous to do! What happens if you accidently sever the nerve?

And wouldn't stimulating it interupt its function too? For example, if stimulating the sensory companant might make the brain think blood pressure is too high, and lower it more (I guess that could be good?) I don't know. Interesting though.

But yeah, the results don't look very convincing. Besides, have they tried stimulating other cranial nerves and comparing it to the vagus one?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

My one and only concern is that they (not necessarily Cyberonics) are going to come out with a less invasive, more selective, generally less messy and primitive version of this and, once you have the VNS implant, you're stuck with it. They can turn it off, they can even remove much of the hardware (though prefer not to).

But unless you are at serious risk for some terminal or otherwise big-deal condition, nobody is going to go back in there and and unwrap the stimulator-wire from your nerve. The risk of permanent damage or just plain offing it is too great.

Nonetheless, I've spent a lot of time on websites not sponsored by Cyberonics and I've found a lot of people (relatively speaking- the procedure's only been performed like 500 for this indication in the US) with no regrets whatsoever.

They are sometimes crowded out by dissappointed epileptics, but from reading the discussion boards you could easily come to the conclusion that VNS is more effective for depression than for epilepsy. The statistics are naturally skewed, and maybe happy epileptics don't post and satisfied depressives are overly prone to it, but I don't think so.

MY POV is that, if it's approved in Europe, it's not as if the USFDA has any crystal ball. Dude, I don't know when, I don't know how, but no screwy regulatory agency is going to keep me from getting my brain wired, and I'm not talking ECT, either. If someone doesn't light the farts of those old asswipes regarding TMS pronto, it'll have to be VNS.

Maybe it's a little easier to be a cynic before prozac, nortryptaline, thorazine, prozac ( and lithium, and a grand mal seizure, oh my!) zoloft, neurontin, zyprexa, hydroxyzine, buspar, trazadone, valium, ativan, ambien, limovan, tetrazepam, halcion, effexorXR, lexapro, lamictal, seroquel, remeron, sonata, topamax, wellbutrin, geodon, haldol (cogentin)

and refusing abilify.

There's an 15% chance I'll commit suicide due to MDD.

There's an 20% chance I'll die of complications related to anorexia and bulimia.

There's a 53% chance I'll go bungee jumping and fail to check the cord connectors first. (Who says you can't have a sense of humor just because you have Plans C, D, E, and F for offing yourself in your head?) Likewise, I could uh, accidentally overdose on drugs just trying to get high 6 or 8 times, I could unthinkingly jump out of moving vehicles a couple of times, I could electrocute myself on a large East European kitchen appliance. . .

So attaching a pacemaker to my brain may be related to a 2.5% chance of death?

And a 15% chance I'll stop making lists of toxic pharmaceutical cocktails and being scared to death I might not fit into the pants my brother outgrew at 10 tomorrow?

I know ECT works, but I've been electrocuted AND I've had a seizure and-GUESS WHAT? It didn't make me feel better.

I'm not all that good with statistics, myself. But obviously, none of the crap I've been doing has worked on me, the patient- the point- not your brother's stock.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...