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Vagus nerve stimulation alleviates chronic anxiety in pilot study

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Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and three other universities announced the results of a four-year pilot study, which tested the long-term response to Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) TherapyTM as an add-on treatment in patients with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders.

"Despite the availability of many treatments for anxiety disorders, only a minority of patients experience treatment-response, especially with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)," George said. "Data suggests VNS Therapy might be a potential long-term treatment for anxiety disorders. We are encouraged to see the unique benefits of VNS therapy for patients with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders."

The FDA approved VNS Therapy in 2005 as an adjunctive long-term treatment for chronic or recurrent depression for patients (18 years of age or older) who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate reaction to four or more antidepressant treatments. It is the only device ever studied and approved for treatment-resistant depression. VNS Therapy is delivered from a small pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest area that sends mild pulses to the brain via the vagus nerve in the neck.

The study, which focused on patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, demonstrated VNS Therapy was well tolerated by a small group of participants. In addition, patients who responded to VNS Therapy continued to experience significant improvements.

(Source: Brain Stimulation: Medical University of South Carolina: July 2008)

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Posted On: 1 July, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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