Subjects in Study That Led to Poligrip Lawsuits All Were Very Heavy Denture Cream Users
The Fixodent and Poligrip lawsuits that have been filed against denture cream manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Procter & Gamble allege that the drugmakers failed to warn consumers about the potential health risks of their products. While the FDA does not require manufacturers to list the ingredients of or provide warnings for Class I medical devices (such as denture cream), due to the severity of the health problems posed by the zinc in denture cream, the courts may rule that some type of product warning was warranted.
The results of a 2008 University of Texas study show that the zinc in denture cream can cause neurological damage. These findings prompted the legal action faced by GSK and P&G and have also caused alarm among current denture cream users who are concerned that Fixodent and Poligrip will cause them to develop a nerve disorder. Because the science on zinc-induced neuropathy is new, there is no definitive answer for how much denture cream is too much. A closer look at the aforementioned UT study, however, provides at the very least a cautionary tale.
Researchers from the Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas studied four patients who were experiencing various symptoms of neuropathy, including weakness and tingling of the limbs, difficulty balancing and walking, poor muscle coordination, spasticity, and knee and back pain. They found that all the patients had hypocupremia (low blood copper levels), a condition that can lead to nerve damage and is potentially caused by excessive zinc intake. After discovering that all four subjects were heavy denture cream users, the researchers concluded that the zinc contained in denture cream was the source of the subjectsâ neuropathy.
The UT study participants used about two tubes of denture cream per week (one tube should generally last around 3 to 10 weeks). They consumed approximately 330 milligrams of zinc per day, whereas recommended zinc intake is eleven milligrams for men and eight milligrams for women. The subjectsâ zinc blood levels measured between 1.36 and 4.28 micrograms per mL (zinc blood levels should typically not exceed 1.10 micrograms per mL).
Judging by these statistics, unless you have used huge amounts of denture cream containing zinc for years, you probably are not at risk of developing neuropathy. Furthermore, both GSK and P&G, facing pressure from litigation, began to include instructions for safe denture cream use with their products (and Poligrip is now formulated without zinc). But even if you are no longer using denture cream, if you did in the past and believe it led to your injuries, you may have a claim against the manufacturer.
The Rottenstein Law Group, a firm with more than 25 years of experience taking on large companies in product liability lawsuits, is currently evaluating denture cream claims.
Have you experienced complications from using Poligrip as your denture cream? Learn more about Poligrip lawsuit and see what you can do.