Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for treatment-resistant depressions: A multicenter study

A. John Rush, Mark S. George, Harold A. Sackeim, Lauren B. Marangell, Mustafa M. Husain, Cole A. Giller, Ziad Nahas, Stephen Haines, Richard K. Simpson, Robert Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

457 Scopus citations


Background: Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) delivered by the NeuroCybernetic Prosthesis (NCP) System was examined for its potential antidepressant effects. Methods: Adult outpatients (n = 30) with nonpsychotic, treatment-resistant major depressive (n = 21) or bipolar I (n = 4) or II (n = 5; depressed phase) disorders who had failed at least two robust medication trials in the current major depressive episode (MDE) while on stable medication regimens completed a baseline period followed by NCP System implantation. A 2-week, single-blind recovery period (no stimulation) was followed by 10 weeks of VNS. Results: In the current MDE (median length = 4.7 years), patients had not adequately responded to two (n = 9), three (n = 2), four (n = 6), or five or more (n = 13) robust antidepressant medication trials or electroconvulsive therapy (n = 17). Baseline 28-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS28) scores averaged 38.0. Response rates (≥50% reduction in baseline scores) were 40% for both the HDRS28 and the Clinical Global Impressions - Improvement index (score of 1 or 2) and 50% for the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. Symptomatic responses (accompanied by substantial functional improvement) have been largely sustained during long-term follow-up to date. Conclusions: These open trial results suggest that VNS has antidepressant effects in treatment-resistant depressions. (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-286
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2000


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for treatment-resistant depressions: A multicenter study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Rush, A. J., George, M. S., Sackeim, H. A., Marangell, L. B., Husain, M. M., Giller, C. A., Nahas, Z., Haines, S., Simpson, R. K., & Goodman, R. (2000). Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for treatment-resistant depressions: A multicenter study. Biological Psychiatry, 47(4), 276-286.