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

What does the magnet do?

The magnet is used to provide an extra dose of therapy if a breakthrough seizure occurs and to temporarily suspend therapy.

How does the magnet work?

The VNS Therapy®generator has a sensor called the Reed switch. The Reed Switch can be activated and deactivated by the magnet which will start or stop stimulation.

How often can I use the magnet?

Use the magnet for extra stimulation as often as you like, but for no more than 8 hours (continuous stimulation). Constant or frequent use of the magnet will use up the battery in the generator and could hurt the nerve. If you use the magnet often, your device settings may need to be adjusted. This is something to discuss with your doctor.

Depending on the settings, using the magnet will provide an additional 7- 60 seconds of stimulation each time you use it. Using the magnet again during the same period will not make the stimulation stronger but will restart the magnet stimulation. Wait until the stimulation ends before trying it again.

Where can I get a new magnet?

You should receive two magnets when your device is implanted. Please contact your doctor for additional magnets.

Can I stop all my seizures with the magnet?

Results from magnet stimulation differ for each person.

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

The magnet should be kept at least 10 inches (25 cm) away from credit cards, televisions, computers, microwave ovens, and other magnets.

Can I use any magnet with the VNS Therapy device?

No, the VNS Therapy® Magnet is the only magnet that should be used with the VNS Therapy System.

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

No. VNS Therapy® automatically delivers therapy at regular intervals throughout the day in an effort to control seizures. The magnet is an optional benefit that may provide additional seizure control should a breakthrough seizure occur.

How long will my magnet last?

With normal use, the VNS Therapy® Magnet should last about 3 years.

Is it possible to stop all stimulation using the magnet?

Yes. To stop stimulation, hold the magnet over the generator and keep it there (some people use tape). If you have unusual or painful stimulation, contact your doctor immediately.

When should I use the magnet?

Use the magnet under the following circumstances:

  1. To start stimulation when you feel a seizure coming on or any time during a seizure
  2. To stop stimulation if it is painful or you plan to give a speech or sing
  3. To test that the device is operating properly
Will dropping my magnet affect its strength?

The magnet’s strength should not be affected if it is dropped. This is a common problem with low-power magnets.

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.

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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.