Choose another country or region to see content specific to your location.

VNS Therapy™ Magnet FAQs

Find answers to commonly asked questions about the VNS Therapy™ magnet in our knowledge base

VNS Therapy™ Magnet FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions

VNS Therapy™ Magnet

Can any magnet be used?

Only the VNS Therapy magnet should be used with your VNS Therapy System. If you lose your magnet or need extra magnets, contact your doctor.

In an emergency, you may try other strong magnets. The use of other magnets that are not supplied by your doctor will not harm the VNS Therapy System, but there is no way to know whether a magnet other than the specific VNS Therapy magnet will work.

Can electronic devices affect the magnet or will the magnet damage my other electronic devices?

The VNS Therapy magnets are very strong. They can damage televisions, computer disks, credit cards, and other items that are affected by strong magnetic fields. Keep your magnet at least 25 centimeters (10 inches) away from any of these items. Do not carry or store the magnets near them.

Can I stop all my seizures with the magnet?

Results from magnet stimulation differ for each person. Some people report that the magnet stops all or most of their seizures, lessens the intensity, or shortens the duration. For others, the magnet has limited or no effect.

Do I have to use the magnet to try and stop a seizure?

No. Whether you use the magnet or not is completely up to you and whoever is with you. It may also depend somewhat on whether the magnet has helped before.

How does the magnet work?

The generator has a sensor (the reed switch) that recognizes the magnet and starts extra stimulation.

How long will my magnet last (does it have an expiration date)?

Based on normal use, the VNS Therapy magnet should have an approximate service life of 3 years.

How often can I use the magnet?

Use the magnet as often as you like, but not longer than 4 hours in a row.

Continuous or frequent magnet use will deplete (use up) the generator battery and could hurt your left vagus nerve. If you need to use the magnet a lot, you may want to have your Normal Mode settings changed.

Discuss this change with your doctor during your next visit.

Is it possible to stop all stimulation using the magnet?

Yes. To stop stimulation, hold the magnet over the generator and keep it there. Use this method if you have unusual or painful stimulation, and call your doctor right away. The magnet will stop all stimulation while it is held in place. You may need to secure the magnet by taping it over the device.

Is the magnet an environmental hazard?

The VNS Therapy magnet can damage computer disks, credit cards, watches, and other items affected by strong magnetic fields. Keep your magnet at least 25 centimeters (10 inches) away from any of these items. Do not store magnets near such items.

What does the magnet do?

The magnet is used to start and stop stimulation. Your doctor must activate the Magnet Mode before you can start stimulation with the magnet.

What if the magnet is accidentally kept in place over the generator for an extended period?

No stimulation will be delivered while the magnet is kept over the device. Normal Mode and magnet-started stimulations will resume only after the magnet is removed.

What is the magnet used for?

Use the magnet in these three circumstances:
1. To start stimulation when you are having an aura that comes before a seizure, you think a seizure is starting or any time during a seizure
2. To stop stimulation
3. To test that the device is operating properly

Where can I get a new magnet?

To order a new magnet, contact your doctor.

In Australia, Epilepsy Action Australia sell the magnet on their webiste,

Who should carry the magnet?

You should carry the magnet with you at all times. You may also want your family members or caregivers to carry a VNS Therapy magnet, so they can apply it if they see you having a seizure.

Will dropping my magnet affect its strength?

Dropping your magnet should not affect the magnet’s strength. This is a common problem with low-power magnets. The VNS Therapy magnet is a high-power magnet and should not lose its strength when dropped or if the casing cracks.

Will the magnet affect my normal treatment schedule?

The magnet overrides your normal treatment schedule, whether or not the device is “ON” at that time. Once the magnet-activated stimulation ends, the device will return to the treatment schedule set by your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choose from a range of topics including product safety, procedure, device, MRI, magnet use and more.

FAQ homepage

VNS Therapy™ Safety Profile

The most common side effects of VNS Therapy™ include:

Shortness of breath
Sore throat

These side effects generally only occur during stimulation and usually decrease over time. The most common side effect of the surgical procedure is infection.

Children under 12 may have a greater risk of infection than those 12 years of age and older and may be more likely to experience lead damage due to higher activity levels and the potential to manipulate the lead. Talk to your physician about the best ways to avoid these complications and about warnings, precautions, side effects, and hazards. Ask about risks that you should know about as well as any other issues that might be appropriate to discuss, such as status epilepticus and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

You can find more safety information here.