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06/22/2009 - News

FDA Issues Warning About Zicam

By: June Chen, MD

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised people not to use zinc-containing intranasal forms of the cold remedy Zicam due to the risk of long-lasting or permanent damage to the sense of smell.

The FDA warning applies to three of the products in the Zicam line – Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs, and Zicam Col Remedy Swabs, Kids Size.
Consumers are advised to stop using these products immediately and should throw them away or request a refund. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., the manufacturer of Zicam, has voluntarily withdrawn the products from the market. Consumers can request a refund by calling 877-942-2626 or visiting The zinc found in these products may damage nerves in the nose that are needed for smell. According to the FDA, about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using Zicam’s products since 1999.
As a homeopathic product, Zicam did not undergo the FDA’s formal approval process, but now, the FDA is requiring formal approval before Matrixx can continue to market Zicam intranasal zinc products. In addition to the 130 reports made directly to the FDA, it appears that Matrixx also has more than 800 consumer complaints related to loss of small associated with Zicam Cold Remedy intranasal which the FDA has now asked the manufacturer to share.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Consumer Updates, June 16, 2009.

Created on: 06/22/2009
Reviewed on: 06/22/2009

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