VNS Therapy works over time
It's important to note that after 1 year, 1 out of 3 patients receiving VNS Therapy experienced significant improvement, and many patients who did not respond immediately to VNS Therapy did experience improvement over time. Therefore, managing patient expectations through this process is very important.
VNS Therapy works differently than other treatments for depression. Patients should understand that their response to VNS Therapy may be gradual. Unlike other treatments for depression which may lose their efficacy over time, VNS Therapy works long term and actually improves over time.
Important points to discuss with patients
- VNS Therapy works gradually and improves over time
- Many people who do not respond immediately to VNS Therapy do experience improvement over time
- Some people experience mood improvements within the first 2 months; for others, the benefits develop gradually over time
- Improvement may be so gradual that friends and family members observe it before the patient does
- Most people who respond to VNS Therapy maintain their improvement long term
- Many patients experience improvement in important quality-of-life areas
Patient Education Support
To assist with patient education, you can refer patients to the Connections program, which provides support via phone conferences with nurse case managers.
Hear from a physician
"Patients who respond to VNS Therapy do so at different time points. Some may respond relatively early, within a few months, others may not show a response out to 9 months or even 12 months. We've found in some of the studies that in fact, patients that begin using VNS Therapy combined with medication may develop a response as late as 18 or even 20 months after VNS Therapy has been initiated."
— Dr. A. John Rush, Vice Chair, Department of Clinical Sciences Professor, Department of Psychiatry University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Listen to this quote
Hear from a patient
"I really didn't begin to notice a difference myself for several months, although my family began to tell me, even as early as 2 to 3 months, that they did see a difference and that I was acting more like my old self. It really wasn't until a year after the surgery that I could really begin to say that I feel better and I notice a big difference. And after 18 months I was feeling much, much better, and I was also beginning to tell people I feel better, this is working. So I think it's important for people to understand that they may not get immediate results....For me, it's 3 years later and I'm doing better and better all the time."
— Marna, VNS Therapy since 2000
Listen to this quote