Well-known cardiothoracic surgeon-turned-know-it-all, Dr. Mehmet Oz, announced on his show today that Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPa) should now be used for ANY AND ALL neurologic complaints. Previously, tPa was indicated only for patients with suspected acute ischemic stroke presenting within 3 hours without certain contraindications, such as bleeding in the brain, high blood pressure, etc. Some studies previously indicated it could be used at 4.5 hours in certain subgroups as well.
“tPa needs to be YOUR body’s ‘clot cleanser’,” exclaimed an ebullient Dr. Oz, “This amazing ‘brain booster’ flushes your brain of blockages and toxins. Using this tonic when you feel any neurologic symptoms at all will help you maintain 100% of the cerebral blood flow YOU need. I heartily endorse this product”!
“If you or your loved one is having ANY of these symptoms, you MUST call 911 and go to a local ED IMMEDIATELY! Make sure to tell them Dr. Oz sent you. And don’t take no for an answer from your ED physician when they say you are ‘not a candidate’ for tPa. This ‘miracle elixir’ needs to be in your system ASAP’”!
Dr. Oz went on to further clarify that candidates for this “miracle elixir” include patients who:
- Slur their speech for any reason
- Feel numb or tingly anywhere in their body
- Have a time-indeterminate decline in their visual acuity
- Feel dizzy
- Feel lightheaded
- Feel “just not right”
- Feel “weak”
- Feel “forgetful”
- Have sciatica
- Have carpal tunnel syndrome
- Request a medication to “clean out some toxins”
- Complain of any recent or current neurologic complaints
Critics of this announcement have pointed out a potential conflict of interest for Dr. Oz in light of a recent lucrative endoresement deal signed by Dr. Oz with Genentech, the pharmaceutical company responsible for manufacturing and marketing alteplase, the leading tPa product on the market. However, Dr. Oz’s publicist denies that this deal was a factor in his decision-making.
Some groups have actually been skeptical about the effects and utility of tPa for any neurologic indication at all, even for its current therapeutic indication for stroke. In fact, 10 out of 12 trials on the topic have found tPa to, at a minimum, cause as many life-threatening bleeding events as cases where it may improve stroke-related adverse neurologic outcomes.
Dr. Oz dismisses all of the above concerns:
“You can trust me. When have I ever been wrong”?