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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about VNS Therapy® in our knowledge base

Frequently Asked Questions

VNS Therapy

Am I a candidate for VNS Therapy®?

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. Talk to your doctor about VNS Therapy® if medications have not given you acceptable seizure control. You and your doctor will decide if VNS Therapy® is right for you. 

 

How does VNS Therapy® work?

The VNS Therapy System sends mild electrical pulses through the vagus nerve to areas of the brain known to be associated with seizures. You can find more information about how VNS Therapy™ works here.

Does the device work immediately?

The benefits of VNS Therapy® are not always seen right away. In fact, seizure activity may improve slowly over the first 2 years of treatment. Long-term results from clinical studies suggest that the effects of VNS Therapy® are significant and last over time.

Will I be able to stop taking anti-seizure medications with VNS Therapy®?

VNS Therapy® is an add-on treatment, not a replacement for your medications, nor does it prevent you from trying new ones. While some people are able to reduce their dose of medications with VNS Therapy®, you and your doctor will determine the right treatment plan for you. Individual results will vary. 

Will I be able to tell when the stimulator is on?

Many people note a tingling feeling or a change in their voice (hoarseness) during stimulation. This side effect usually becomes less noticeable over time.

What is AutoStim Mode*?

AutoStim is responsive automatic delivery of an extra dose of stimulation where a rapid increase in heart rate is detected, which is typical of many seizures. You can find more information about how VNS Therapy™ works here

*Only available in models 106 and 1000

If AutoStim* is activated does that mean I'm about to have a seizure?

Not in all cases. While 8 in 10 people living with seizures experience a rapid increase in heart rate before or during a seizure, not all seizures are accompanied by heart rate changes. 

*Only available in models 106 and 1000

Will AutoStim* replace my magnet?

No. While AutoStim may detect rapid increases in heart rate that may be associated with seizures, the magnet is still available to use in case of a breakthrough seizure. 

*Only available in models 106 and 1000

What happens when I exercise?

AutoStim* is designed to respond to rapid increases in heart rate. If you are exercising and your heart rate increases rapidily, you may recevie an extra dose of stimulation, which is similar to receiving extra stimulation in Magnet Mode. 

*Only available in models 106 and 1000

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VNS Therapy® Safety Profile

The most common side effects of VNS Therapy® include:

Hoarseness
Shortness of breath
Sore throat
Coughing

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.