Health Inc.

Glaxo Pulling Some Poligrip From Market Over Zinc Risk

Wearing dentures isn't anybody's idea of fun. But nobody expects that the glue used to hold the darn things in place could lead to nerve damage.

Glaxo removing Poligrip containing zinc from the market. i i

Glaxo warned about health risks from these three formulas of Poligrip. GSK hide caption

itoggle caption GSK
Glaxo removing Poligrip containing zinc from the market.

Glaxo warned about health risks from these three formulas of Poligrip.

GSK

Amid a rising tide of lawsuits that claim some denture adhesives containing zinc have caused serious nerve problems, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline is pulling some Poligrip products from the market while the company works on zinc-free formulas.

So be on the lookout for Super Poligrip Original, Ultra Fresh and Extra Care—all three include zinc. The company says the products are safe to use when the directions are followed. But some people use too much of the stuff or put it on more than once a day, increasing their zinc exposure.

Isn't zinc one of those minerals that's good for you? Yes, you need some zinc for your immune system, to help wounds heal and even to be able to smell and taste. But a little goes a long way—women 19 and older need 8 milligrams a day; males 14 and up need 11 milligrams a day.

As Glaxo acknowledges in its U.S. advisory, "recent publications suggest that an excessive intake of zinc-containing denture adhesives over several years may lead to the development of neurological symptoms and blood problems such as anemia."

What are the signs of nerve trouble? Numbness, tingling, problems walking and weakness in the arms and legs, Glaxo says.

Ed Blizzard, a plaintiffs lawyer, praises Glaxo's action in a statement and called it "a victory for consumers." But, he says, "it comes far too late for the hundreds—if not thousands—of people who have been crippled by zinc poisoning."

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