People who have an implanted vagus nerve stimulator (called VNS Therapy) will have a magnet that can be used at the time of the seizure. The VNS Therapy provides stimulation on it's own- you don't need to use the magnet. However, many people find that it can help stop a seizure or lessen the severity or length of a seizure if the magnet is applied at the time of the seizure.

People who have a vagus nerve stimulator should build use of the magnet into their Seizure Action Plan and teach anyone who may be with you during a seizure how to use it.

  • The VNS magnet can be part of your seizure first aid plan. As soon as you are in a safe place, you can apply it or someone can do it for you.
  • To use the magnet to stop a seizure:
    • Swipe the magnet across the generator in the chest area, by counting "one-one thousand-one". Usually stimulation that is triggered lasts 30 to 60 seconds, depending on how your health care professional programmed it.
    • If the seizure is still going on after a minute, you can use it again.
    • While there is no specific number of times to use it, usually the seizure is over after 1 or 2 swipes. If the seizure is still going on 2 to 3 minutes later, you may want to move onto the next step. For example, sometimes people are told to take a rescue medication if a seizure lasts a certain amount of time.
  • Anyone can use the magnet when the seizure starts or when they first notice the seizure symptoms.
    • If you, the person with seizures has a warning or is aware during the seizure, use it yourself.
    • If you are not aware or not able to use the magnet when a seizure occurs, teach others (family, friends, caregivers for example) how to use it.
  • Keep the magnet in a handy place so it's available when a seizure occurs.

For more information:

Authored By: 
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: