What is the efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for the treatment of epilepsy?

Updated: May 30, 2019
  • Author: David Y Ko, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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According to the manufacturer's registry, efficacy of the stimulating device at 18 months is 40-50%, where efficacy is defined as a seizure reduction of 50% or more. Many patients report improvement in seizure intensity and general mood. However, seizure-free rates for pharmacologically intractable focal-onset epilepsy are less than 10%.

A meta-analysis of VNS clinical studies reported an average reduction in seizures of at least 50% in approximately 50% of patients at last follow-up. Although VNS was not initially FDA approved for children or patients with generalized epilepsy, the authors also found that these groups benefitted significantly from VNS.

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