Depression Community
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Treatment Resistant Depression

I have had treatment resistant depression for years and last June was implanted with the Vagal Nerve Stimulator Device, which is used to treat depression, since FDA approval approx 2 years ago. It had been used to treat Epilepsy for years. Until recently, Medicare covered the cost of the procedure (approx $35,000). It has now been denied, but some insurance companies do cover it.

I am being treated by a Psychiatrist, who has over 40 patients with this device. We are having our first meeting on Sept 17 th to share our stories, progress, etc.  If anyone is interested in hearing more, the company name who makes the device is Cyberonics (they are very helpful), visit www.VNSTherapy.com or use this forum as an exchange of info. I would share my experiences off line if interested.

What concerns me is that the use of VNS is not mentioned here, and all my old doctors in Wash DC never heard of it. Why?
3 Responses
Avatar universal
I must admit that I have never heard of this either. I was curious to know more about this device so I looked it up and found information on the FDA website. It is a new procedure as you mentioned and physicians who work with this device must have specific training and expertise in the management of treatment-resistant depression. My guess is that a majority of physicians don't have this type of training so they don't work with the device and therefore patients don't hear about it.

Looks interesting though and I hope it works for you. The website said it could take several months to notice a difference and the degree at which you feel relief varies depending on each individual and that is IF you feel relief as not all patients will find this device works for them. But that is true of depression medication too, not all medications work the same for all individuals. But like I said, I really do hope this device does work for you. It is not fun to have depression that is not relieved by any other means and thank goodness there is something out there that CAN help you. Thank you for bringing this to our attention as it could be something others might want to look into now.

Good luck to you. :-)
Avatar universal
I sure hope that it works for you! I actually had only heard of VNS being used for seizure patients, so this is great info.

If you don't mind me asking, where did you have it placed? West coast? East coast? Seizure patients do tend to still need to remain on some medication, but not at the previous levels if it works for them. For, depression will there be a maintenance dose needed still? Or will you be able to be drug-free if it works? Pretty amazing stuff!
Avatar universal
Does it help with anxiety ?
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