Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. We specialize in Personal Injury trial litigation and focus our energy and efforts on those we represent.

Poligrip and Fixodent Litigation Update

For 14 years until just last month, GlaxoSmithKline sold a denture cream called Super Poligrip that contained high levels of zinc.

The zinc helped with adhesion and was probably safe so long as people used moderate amounts of cream. Indeed, the human body needs small amounts of zinc to function. But some people ended up using much larger amounts, and they began to develop the kind of nerve damage associated with excess zinc.

Read the full New York Times story here.

Johnny Howell of Winston-Salem, N.C., who was using a tube of Poligrip a week, had to quit his job as a car mechanic and now needs a walker to get around his house. He is 53 years old. Rodney Urbanek, another Poligrip customer, began using a walker in 2007, at age 63. He died a year later, apparently a result of a copper deficiency from “zinc overload,” according to his autopsy.

Poligrip has a lot of zinc. Too much zinc causes copper deficiency. A lack of copper causes nerve damage.

The evidence has become strong enough that last month GlaxoSmithKline stopped making the version of Poligrip with zinc, after having previously resisted just such a move.

We are not taking toxic risks seriously enough.

The story of denture cream and zinc is a good example. A dentist in the Navy noticed the link between zinc and copper deficiency in the 1950s, according to Dr. Harold Sandstead of the University of Texas in Galveston. Studies in later years confirmed the relationship. Early last decade, researchers made the connection from excess zinc to copper deficiency to neurological problems. “It’s nothing new,” Peter Hedera, a Vanderbilt University neurologist, told me. “If you researched the field, you would find out.”
In 2008, Dr. Sharon Nations of Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and other researchers published a study in the journal Neurology that took the research one step further. It specifically tied denture cream to severe neuropathy. Dr. Hedera followed up that study with another one analyzing 11 patients with high, unexplained zinc levels. To his surprise, all 11 turned out to be heavy users of denture cream.

Yet even after those studies appeared, GlaxoSmithKline continued to sell Poligrip. The company simply inserted a small piece of paper into the product’s box containing some mild statements that barely even seemed to be warnings. The headline on the insert was, “For Best Results Start With a Small Amount.”
Perhaps even more questionable than GlaxoSmithKline’s response has been that of Procter & Gamble, the giant consumer products company. Procter is still selling a denture cream with zinc in it. Why? The cream, Fixodent, has only about half as much zinc as Poligrip did.

Even so, it may be enough to cause problems. Some of the 11 patients in the Hedera study were Fixodent users. “I would withdraw both” — not just Poligrip but also Fixodent, Dr. Hedera says.

Mr. Howell, the former mechanic, who is suing GlaxoSmithKline, said he was careful to apply the cream how the instructions showed. He was less careful, however, about dosage.

Today, Mr. Howell has to rely on friends to drive him to the grocery store. “Before all this started happening, I used to have a race car and I used to go fishing all the time,” he said.

“Now, I can’t drive. I wrecked my car because my legs wouldn’t hit the brake. I tore the whole side of my car off.”
It’s too late to prevent much of whatever damage has been caused by denture cream. But it is not too late to prevent the next such problem, and there will be a next one. Companies are just not going to regulate themselves. Their mission is to make money, and they pursue it well. They have shown again and again — with lead in paint, mercury in canned tuna and zinc in denture cream — that they are less zealous about protecting consumer safety.

If you or a family member has been personally injured because of the fault of someone else: by the use of dangerous and defective drugs, bad products, or toxic injury etc then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Defective Drugs Product Liability Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 888-210-9693 or Contact Me Online.

The Dr. Shezad Malik Law Firm is currently evaluating and accepting Poligrip and Fixodent Zinc Neuropathy cases.

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