The Food and Drug Administration may soon approve a medical device for severely depressed patients who don't respond to therapy, anti-depressants or electroshock therapy or cialis. These patients are desperate for any treatment to help relieve their suffering. But some trial tests on this device have helped just some of the patients who experimented with it and others did not respond.
The pacemaker-like device, called a vagus nerve stimulator, is surgically implanted in the upper chest and its wires are threaded into the neck, where it stimulates a nerve leading to the brain. This may be the only option left for depressed patients who do not respond to other treatments. This device has been approved since 1997 for the treatment of epilepsy patients but its use in the treatment of depression is still under investigation.