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Denture Cream Lawsuit: Young People Aging Before Their Time

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Butler, PAThe symptoms include dizziness, confusion and trouble with balance—but the problem isn't that patients are aging, but rather that they may be overusing Fixodent denture adhesive or other denture creams. Even patients in their 30s and 40s say they have been affected by denture cream poisoning. The reported issue is the high amount of zinc in Fixodent denture cream and Super Poligrip, which can cause copper deficiency and other neurological problems.

A lawsuit filed in May alleges that use of Super Poligrip led a 41-year-old woman to develop copper deficiency. Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the high levels of zinc in Super Poligrip caused a nerve disorder, which ultimately forced the victim to resign from her job. The lawsuit further alleges the plaintiff is unable to move around without a walker or a cane. According to the lawsuit, after the plaintiff stopped using Super Poligrip, her health improved.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on 5/07/10 that the plaintiff, Terry Charpentier, first noticed numbness in her toes and feet in 2005. That numbness eventually moved up through her legs, and Charpentier eventually became confined to a wheelchair. Her health has since improved, but Charpentier cannot drive and is unable to walk without a walker or cane.

Dentures are most frequently associated with the elderly, although many young people also use dentures and use denture adhesive to hold the dentures in place. Those who used more than the recommended amount of denture cream for a prolonged time may have developed zinc poisoning, which can cause copper deficiency and a number of neurological problems.

Because it takes so long for the neurological problems to develop, many people do not link their lack of coordination and dizziness to their use of denture cream.

The makers of Super Poligrip and Fixodent have stated that their products are safe when used as directed. GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Super Poligrip, noted that a 2.4 oz tube of Super Poligrip should last between eight and 10 weeks. In reality, consumers were sometimes using one to two tubes a week.

The Post-Gazette reports that GlaxoSmithKline stopped making and advertising Super Poligrip products that contain zinc and has introduced zinc-free versions of some Super Poligrip products. GlaxoSmithKline has not commented on Charpentier's lawsuit.

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