AspireSR VNS

What is VNS Therapy?

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS Therapy®) is a unique treatment developed for people with drug-resistant epilepsy (seizures that don’t respond to seizure medications). VNS Therapy® does not involve brain surgery and it is not a drug. It is a small, implanted device that works with any of your current or future medications, as well as other treatments. Since its introduction in 1997, more than 80,000 people worldwide have chosen VNS Therapy® to help control their seizures.

VNS Therapy® works whether or not you have auras or warning signals. VNS Therapy® is programmed to work automatically, around the clock.

The latest advancement in VNS Therapy®, AspireSR®, also monitors for heart rate increases that may be associated with seizures. When a certain change in heart rate occurs, a burst of stimulation happens automatically.  

What is AspireSR®?

AspireSR® is the first and only VNS Therapy® that provides responsive stimulation to heart rate increases that may be associated with seizures.

Clincal studies of AspireSR® showed that some seizures stopped (i.e., seizure cessation), some were less severe, and after some seizures people recovered more quickly (improved postictal recovery).1

How does AspireSR® work?

Eighty-two percent (82%) of people with epilepsy may have an increase in their heart rate associated with a seizure.2

How AspireSR® works:

  • Can detect rapid heart rate rise 

  • Can deliver automatic stimulation 

  • Settings can be customized to each person’s specific needs

  • Works together with Normal and Magnet Mode 
settings of VNS Therapy®. This means that stimulation will also occur at preprogrammed times and when a magnet is swiped over the generator in the chest area.

In AspireSR® clinical trials, over 60% of seizures treated (n=46) ended during auto stimulation. For seizures that ended during stimulation (n=28), the closer stimulation was to the beginning of the seizure, the shorter the seizure length.

What is AspireSR® indicated for?

The VNS Therapy® System is indicated for use as an adjunctive therapy — as add on therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age with partial onset seizures that are resistant to antiepileptic or anti-seizure medications.

It is important to talk to your doctor to find out if VNS Therapy® might be right for you.

What is the safety and tolerability?

AspireSR® has beenshown to be safe and tolerable compared to currently available VNS Therapy®.

  • Proven safe and tolerable.
  • No unexpected side effects
  • Surgery to place or implant the device is well-tolerated.

The AutoStim Mode or heart rate monitor setting is not recommended for people being treated for abnormal heart rhythms or with a history of bradycardia — abnormally slow heart rate or pulse.

What are common side effects of VNS Therapy®?

Side effects following stimulation that occurred more than 5% of the time were dysphonia (hoarse voice), convulsion, headache, oropharyngeal pain (throat pain), depression, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), dyspnea (difficulty breathing), exertional dyspnea (difficulty breathing with physical effort or exertion), stress, and vomiting.1

References: 

1 http://us.cyberonics.com/vns-therapy
2 Eggleston KS, et al. Seizure. 2014 Aug;23(7):496-505

Authored by: Joseph I Sirven MD on 6/2015