Poligrip and Fixodent Denture Creams
It is estimated that approximately 20 million people in the U.S. wear dentures and use denture adhesive products like Super Poligrip (GlaxoSmithKline) or Fixodent (Proctor & Gamble). GlaxoSmithKline issued a Press Release on February 18, 2010 warning consumers of potential health risks associated with long-term excessive use of over-the-counter denture adhesives containing zinc. The company announced it was taking "voluntary, precautionary" action and will stop making and marketing Super Poligrip Original, Ultra Fresh, and Extra Care products in the U.S. The company plans to reformulate the creams without zinc. GlaxoSmithKline stressed that the products are safe when used as directed, but that some people with ill-fitting dentures use extra cream than directed by the instructions.
This public announcement was made while hundreds of lawsuits are pending across the U.S. against GlaxoSmithKline. Lawsuits have also been filed against Procter & Gamble, which sells Fixodent. Plaintiffs claim in the lawsuits that years of excessive use of the zinc-containing denture cream caused nerve damage leading to a loss of balance, loss of sensation in the hands and feet, and even leaving some denture wearers paralyzed. Attorneys for Plaintiffs argue there was no warning for people about risks of applying excessive denture cream to hold ill-fitting dentures.
The link between denture creams with zinc and neurologic disease is not new knowledge. In 2008, a study was published by the American Academy of Neurology linking denture cream zinc to neurologic disease. Researchers from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas documented that excessive zinc can purge the body of copper, a chemical needed for normal brain and nervous system function. A copper deficiency can cause anemia, weakness and numbness in arms and legs, difficulty walking and loss of balance, and eventually permanent paralysis. Interestingly, GlaxoSmithKline and Proctor & Gambel only began disclosing the zinc in their denture creams after the University of Texas' study was published in the medical journal Neurology, but gave no warning to consumers.
More than $520 million in denture adhesive sales were reported in 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline alone. Denture creams containing zinc were first approved by the FDA more than 15 years ago, and the agency has never issued a public safety warning on the products, according to industry group Consumer Healthcare Products Association. The FDA classifies denture adhesives as Class I Medical Devices, meaning the products are not life sustaining or life supporting and do not present a reasonable source of injury from normal usage.
If you or a loved one have suffered zinc poisoning resulting in permanent neurological damage after using Fixodent (Proctor & Gamble), Poligrip or Super Poligrip, please contact the law firm of Alley, Clark & Greiwe today to learn more about your legal rights.