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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2011 Oct;23(5):424-36. doi: 10.3109/09540261.2011.630993.

Neurostimulation therapies for treatment resistant depression: a focus on vagus nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.


Antidepressant treatments, including pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, do not result in remission for the majority of patients with major depressive disorder. The high prevalence of treatment resistant depression (TRD) poses a significant issue for patients as well as both societal and economic costs. Due to the limited efficacy of existing therapies in this sub-population, alternative somatic treatments are being explored. Both vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) are neurostimulation treatments for TRD. While VNS has Food Drug Administration approval as an adjunctive therapy for MDD, DBS is still in the experimental stages. This article will review the evidence supporting the clinical utility of these therapies.

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