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The potential for zinc poisoning from denture adhesives such as Fixodent and Poligrip is not new news.
For years the potential serious medical effects of zinc in denture adhesives has been known. Yet, the products remain on the market and the FDA has not taken any action to inform or protect consumers. Most Fixodent, Poligrip and Super Poligrip products still contain zinc. While Poligrip has introduced a few products that do not contain zinc, GlaxoSmithKline, the product's manufacturer claims that the zinc free formulas are because people complained about the taste of the product and not because of the denture cream's health risks.
When Was the Problem of Zinc Poisoning First Reported?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of potential zinc poisoning from denture adhesives at least as early as 2005. In November 2005, two adverse event reports were filed regarding GlaxoSmithKline's Poligrip denture adhesive. One report described the case of an adult female patient who, according to her physician was suffering from “zinc poisoning secondary to Poligrip denture adhesive cream.” The patient suffered significant neurological symptoms including intense headaches, difficulty breathing, difficulty walking and facial weakness. According to the FDA, GlaxoSmithKline viewed the incident as “medically serious.” However, the FDA took no action in either case.
Additionally, cases of denture adhesive zinc poisoning have been reported in the news. Fox news, for example, reported on two lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline in 2006 and 2007. Both lawsuits claimed that the plaintiffs used Poligrip products and that those products caused zinc poisoning. In the report, a reporter spoke with a dentist at the Baylor School of Dentistry who explained that zinc poisoning was possible from denture adhesives, despite the manufacturer claims that only a little zinc was included in the product. The dentist explained that people tend to use denture adhesives when they have poorly fitting dentures and that they are, therefore, using more than is recommended and that zinc is absorbed rapidly through the gums.
How Are Denture Users Protected from Zinc Poisoning?
Denture users have not been provided any protection by the FDA or by the manufacturers of Fixodent and Poligrip. The FDA has not required denture adhesives to disclose the risk on their packaging nor have they been regulated in any other manner. Similarly, the manufacturers continue to sell these products without any warnings.
So far the best way that denture wearers have been protected is through denture cream / Fixodent lawsuits. The Fox story for example, quoted one of the plaintiffs as saying that his ultimate goal was not to punish GlaxoSmithKline but rather to warn other denture adhesive users of the potential serious medical risks associated with denture adhesives.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by the use of Fixodent or other denture adhesives then you may have the right to bring your own lawsuit to recover damages and to warn others of the dangers. Please contact a products liability attorney today for a free consultation.
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