Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is certainly new—but is it effective? It took the FDA a long time to make up its mind, but eventually it approved the treatment in May 2005. (For more details on why the FDA flip-flopped on the issue, see “FDA Approval of VNS,” this issue.) In this article, we scrutinize the two pivotal studies leading to approval.
Most psychiatrists pretty much agree that all antidepressants are more or less equally effective. So if you start with that premise and you have 10-15 antidepressants out there, why are you picking one versus another? And what algorithm are we all using? Dr. Zimmerman developed a questionnaire for psychiatrists to fill out immediately after they wrote antidepressant prescriptions. We asked, “What influenced you to choose that medication?”
Dr. Aiken is the Editor in Chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report; director of the Mood Treatment Center in North Carolina, where he maintains a private practice combining medication and therapy along with evidence-based complementary and alternative treatments; and Assistant Professor NYU Langone Department of Psychiatry. He has worked as a research assistant at the NIMH and a sub-investigator on clinical trials, and conducts research on a shoestring budget out of his private practice. Follow him on Twitter and find him on LinkedIn.