As some of you may have heard, the FDA has compiled reports from 130 consumers or their physicians since 1999 who have reported a loss of smell, sometimes permanent, after using Zicam nasal products. Reportedly the company has over 800 complaints on record. This is still a very small number of the total users in the past decade but it was enough to drive the FDA to send a Warning Letter to the makers of the Zicam nasal products. They have also concluded that until further investigation is completed, people should not use the product as the benefits have never been clearly established.
At Executive Healthcare Services, we concur with the discontinuation of the nasal product at this time. Although it is unclear as to the direct cause of the consumer complaints, it seems warranted to be proactive in discontinuing the product at this time. However, we still fully support the use of oral zinc products, including Zicam zinc oral tablets and lozenges, Cold-Eeze and similar products. These have not been implicated in any of these complaints. We believe there is fair evidence to support oral zinc’s use early in a viral illness and very good evidence that oral zinc replacement can be an important part of treatment and recovery from diarrhea-related illnesses.
More information can be found in todays’ Washington Post online at FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell – washingtonpost.com.
Yours in health,
Kevin J. Kelleher, M.D.
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