What is VNS Therapy and how does it work?

VNS Therapy is a neuromodulation treatment designed for people with drug-resistant epilepsy 4 years of age and older with partial onset seizures. It can safely lead to fewer and shorter seizures and better recovery after seizures.

Take our assessment to find out if VNS Therapy™ could be right for you

Find out if VNS Therapy® epilepsy treatment is right for you.
Each year 40,000 adults and 26,000 children are diagnosed with DRE

Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

Medication alone isn’t the answer for 1/3 of people having seizures. Seizures that continue after trying at least two appropriately prescribed anti-seizure medications are considered drug-resistant epilepsy.

Studies have shown that adding more medications is not likely to control this kind of epilepsy. But despite this data and what we know about the risks of living with drug-resistant epilepsy, many people continue to be prescribed multiple medications instead of being evaluated for non-drug therapy options.

If you’ve tried multiple medications yet continue to have seizures, it may be time to consider alternative treatment options.

VNS Therapy™ for Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

VNS Therapy™ is an add-on neuromodulation treatment designed for people with drug-resistant epilepsy 4 years of age and older with partial onset seizures. It can safely lead to fewer and shorter seizures and better recovery after seizures.

VNS Therapy™ is a small device implanted under the skin in the chest and connected to the left vagus nerve in the neck. VNS Therapy™ delivers mild pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve to help prevent seizures before they start and help stop them if they do.

VNS Therapy has been used to treat more than 125,000 people with drug-resistant epilepsy, including 35,000 children, and has over 25 years of data to support it.

Could You benefit From VNS Therapy™?

If you've tried two or more anti-seizure medications yet continue to have uncontrolled seizures, it’s time to question your treatment. Talk to your doctor about drug-resistant epilepsy and the treatment options available.

Take our assessment to find out if VNS Therapy™ could be suitable for you

VNS Therapy™ has been shown to reduce the impact of seizures

Benefits of VNS Therapy

Designed for more seizure-free moments, VNS Therapy has proven to not only help reduce the number of seizures - it may also reduce the length and severity of seizures that do occur and improve post-seizure recovery. In studies that compared the effects before and after being treated with VNS Therapy, many people experienced:


Fewer Seizures

Fewer Seizures

Shorter Seizures

Shorter Seizures

Less Severe Seizures

Less Severe Seizures

Improved Post-Seizure Recovery

Improved Post-Seizure Recovery

VNS Therapy has been shown to improve over time to help control seizures for years to come.

In a 10-year study that tracked the effectiveness of VNS Therapy at reducing the frequency of seizures:

Seizure reduction over a 1 and 10 year period


Quality of Life Improvements with VNS Therapy

In addition to its seizure-reducing benefits, VNS Therapy™ may offer meaningful quality-of-life improvements. These improvements may be related to the ability to think or could be related to one’s general outlook on life—all of which can go a long way toward helping reduce the constant fear of a seizure so you can focus on the things that matter most.

VNS Therapy has been shown to offer improvements related to:


(N=1194) *maximum achieved during follow-up period ≥ 24 months

Mariam, On VNS Therapy since 2014

"Life's really good. I'm back in school. I'm dancing. I'm smiling."

Mariam, On VNS Therapy since 2014

How does VNS Therapy work?

VNS Therapy is delivered through a device that sends mild pulses to the left vagus nerve at regular intervals throughout the day in an effort to prevent seizures.

An additional dose of therapy may stop or shorten your seizure, decrease its intensity and improve recovery after seizures.

VNS Therapy includes a short outpatient procedure, which is not brain surgery.

VNS Therapy Delivers Stimulation in 3 Ways

Normal Mode

Normal Mode

Helps Prevent Seizures

Stimulation is delivered at regular intervals all day, every day, to help prevent seizures.

AutoStim Mode

AutoStim Mode*

Responds to rapid increases in heart rate

An extra dose of therapy is automatically delivered at the sign of a rapid increase in heart rate, which may be associated with seizures.

*Only available in models 106 and 1000

Magnet Mode

Magnet Mode

Delivers On-Demand Treatment

Stimulation is manually delivered by swiping the included VNS Therapy Magnet over the generator to help stop or shorten a seizure once it starts

VNS Therapy's latest technology includes features that offer treatment customization and easier management

Customized Treatment

*Only available in Model 1000

Scheduled Programming

Scheduled Programming*

Allows your doctor to program your device to automatically increase  therapy settings at intervals he or she chooses in advance until you reach your targeted dose. This option can reduce the need for you to attend follow-up appointments for programming, giving you time back to live your best life.

Day/Night Programming

Day/Night Programming*

Is an optional feature that allows your doctor to customize VNS Therapy based on your lifestyle preferences or side effect management. Your doctor can program your device to different settings for any two periods of time during a 24-hour period.

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.

Infection is the most common side effect of the procedure.

You can find more safety information here.