Vagus nerve stimulation in treatment-resistant bipolar depression

Bernardo Dell'Osso, Alessandro Dario, Mariateresa Ciabatti, Giulia Camuri, Lucio Oldani, Ilaria Balossi, A. Carlo Altamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a brain stimulation technique approved as augmentative treatment of drug-resistant depression (TRD). To date, however, the efficacy of VNS has been mostly investigated in unipolar depression and, only to a minor extent, in bipolar depression. However, given that VNS was first introduced in the treatment of refractory epilepsy due to its anticonvulsant properties, it would be of clinical interest to specifically assess the efficacy of this technique in patients with Bipolar Depression, and to evaluate not only its antidepressant effect but also its potential mood-stabilizing properties in the long-term. The present article provides a brief description of the technique and presents the preliminary results at 6 months of 4 patients with Bipolar Disorder and TRD treated with VNS therapy. In addition, hypotheses of potential mechanisms underpinning the efficacy of VNS in Bipolar Disorder are provided and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neuropsychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Bipolar disorder (BD)
  • Treatment resistant depression (TRD)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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