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Zinc in Denture Creams Prompts Five Lawsuits

June 2nd, 2009 · 2 Comments

shutterstock_23771848It all began on June 4, 2008 with an article in Journal of Neurology entitled, “Denture Cream: An Unusual Source of Excess Zinc, Leading to Hypocupremia and Neurologic Disease.” Now, one year later, after some Good Morning America interviews prompted speedy popularity for the subject, the law firm of Bernstein Liebhard filed four lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline in Pennsylvania, then one against SmithKline and Procter & Gamble in federal court.

A May 5, 2009 article at the TransWorldNews website contains a broken link to the Good Morning America interviews. It appears they have been taken down. On the GMA website, a page titled “Study Finds a Possible Link Between Denture Cream and Imbalance” features statements from SmithKline and Procter & Gamble, along with a link to the FDA website. There is no article.

Today, the ADA published an online article, “Case study prompts questions on denture creams.” The official statement from the ADA is that the Association is “…not aware of any reports of neurological problems resulting from use of a denture cream following the manufacturer’s instructions, nor indeed of any other reports of neurological or other health problems related to the use of denture cream products under any conditions.” ADA members have called the Association asking for guidance on what to tell patients about the denture cream issue. This prompted the release of today’s article.

The FDA has not issued a denture cream warning. You can, however, read a lawyer’s formal complaint, filed on behalf of his client, here. The FDA did release a statement in February 2008 about denture cleansers causing allergic reactions and the hazards of misusing the products. This is unrelated, though.

What is the problem at the root of the controversy and lawsuits?
The story, as you read it here, is based on the ADA article. Four denture patients who used two-plus tubes of denture cream per week were involved in a study. Keep in mind, denture cream manufacturers recommend that one tube should be consumed over 10 weeks. Over time, these patients had ingested or absorbed a significant amount of zinc from the denture creams. Zinc provides an odor block and bonding agent for denture creams.
Because these patients exhibited symptoms of hypocupremia (abnormally low copper levels) and neurological disease, the researchers surmised that the zinc caused the problems.

The website states, “Although GlaxoSmithKline claims the product is safe, several cases have been made against the denture cream manufacturers since 2005. According to one FDA report at least one patient was diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy and peripheral neuropathy as a result of using Poligrip denture cream and the case was deemed as medically serious by GlaxoSmithKline.”

Check out the PoliGrip® FAQs, which include many answers about zinc and long-term use.

Tags: News

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thomas Gibbs // Jun 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Good article- another reason not to wear dentures. Chronic exposure to any chemical for prolonged time especially on permeable oral mucosal tissue is a danger not completely understood.

  • 2 laurie // Jun 10, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Interesting website- presents a good overview of this problem:

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