Qualifying for Vagus Nerve Stimulation Video

Candidates for VNS treating depression are people who have failed to respond to many other methods of treatment.
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Question: Who qualifies for VNS treatment of depression? Mark S. George: If I would struggling with my first episode of depression ever in my life, I would probably want to go to my Psychiatrist or Doctor and get prescribed to pill and have some sessions and talk. And 60% of people would get better with that. And that's easy. You take a pill; you only have to see somebody once a week. There is no surgery and about 40%, that doesn't work. And then the next pill that they try doesn't work. And so if you failed two or three trials that medications, you move into a classification that we call treatment resistant depression. Your depression is a type that's harder to treat and it's those people that we think VNS is best targeted for. The Vagus Nerve Stimulation involves implanting a small device and involves implanting device about this size, right here underneath the skin and then connecting a wire up to the nerve. So that involves one surgical operation and be put to sleep and involves putting hardware in your body and it cost a little bit of money. So, in the first studies for VNS for depression, we chose only people who had failed lots and lots of other medications and commonly electroconvulsive therapy as well. So, we restricted the first use of it to people, with what's called treatment resistant depression, a harder to treat depression and so its FDA approved for only treatment resistant depression. So, it's not an acute treatment either. If somebody is acutely suicidal, really can't make it through the next couple of days, VNS is not a treatment for them. It won't get them better right away. They need something else like ECT. VNS is really a long term tool for somebody who's been struggling with depression for a couple of years.

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