Vagus Nerve Stimulation: A Brief Update

VNS (vagus nerve stimulation) was initially developed and approved for treatment-refractory epilepsy. Cyberonics conducted one sham-controlled study for treatment-resistant depression, and while this double-blind study showed no statistical benefit over placebo, an open-label extension showed enough benefit to impress someone at the FDA. In a controversial decision in which the unanimous rejection of an advisory panel was overturned, the FDA approved VNS for treatment-resistant depression on July 15, 2005.

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