February 9, 2011

Fixodent The Subject Of Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit is alleging that Fixodent denture cream may have caused serious problems.

ABC News reported that lawyers for two former denture cream users are accusing Proctor & Gamble of manufacturing a product that made their clients extremely ill.

Mark Jacoby, a 41-year-old construction worker who wore dentures for 20 years, told ABC News that he believes his debilitating neurological illness is due to the high zinc content in his Fixodent.

"I started getting tingling in my fingertips. And then it started happening in my toes," he told ABC News' 20/20 anchor Chris Cuomo, who is the Chief of the Law & Justice Unit. "I started getting weaker and, you know, I couldn't walk right, off balance and I'm at this point now."

He said his doctors searched for years for the cause of his debilitating neurological illness that robbed him of his independence.

Doctors eventually tied his disorder to high levels of mineral zinc in his body.

"I can almost guarantee you it was the Fixodent," Jacoby told ABC News. "It's soaked into your body and it messes with the nerves."

Anne Coffman, 48, claims the denture cream caused numbness in her limbs.  Coffman was eventually diagnosed with zinc poisoning, which is a condition in which high zinc levels interfere with the body's absorption of copper, which can lead to irreversible neurological problems.

"(Fixodent) is the only product that I've ever used that had zinc in it," Coffman told ABC News.

Both Jacoby and Coffman use wheelchairs now and are both plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against Proctor & Gamble.

There have been previous studies linking denture users with neurological disease.

"They had high zinc levels that we could measure in the blood," Dr. Sharon Nations, author of a study in the journal Neurology told ABC News. "And all of them reported that they were using very large amounts of denture cream."

Proctor & Gamble added a warning label to its Fixodent packaging in 2009, warning that "prolonged zinc intake may be linked to adverse health effects." 

The company is defending its product against the allegation.

"Our Fixodent formula has undergone extensive scientific testing, and we continuously monitor for its safe use," the company wrote in a statement to ABC News. "We know of no valid scientific evidence that using Fixodent as directed causes any ill health effects."

Fixodent is not the only denture cream that uses zinc.

Last June, the drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Super Poligrip, announced that it would remove zinc from its products in the U.S.

The company has also been embroiled in lawsuits, alleging nerve damage.


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