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FDA Snuffs Out Zicam

Popular Cold Remedy Can Ruin Sense of Smell

Zicam nasal gel may damage sense of smell.

Zicam nasal gel may damage sense of smell.

As many of you know by now – and as I’ve written in the past – I’m not exactly the president of the Food and Drug Administration’s fan club.  In fact, I just recently criticized them for not cracking down on the prevalence of GMOs in food, something that many within the FDA were trying to crack down on in the 1990s, but apparently gave up on.

But just as every cloud has its silver lining, the FDA occasionally casts that ray of sunlight on drug companies that are all too often shrouded in mystery as to their side effects (though they’re now required to state the side effects in commercials).

So it is with Zicam, a supposed-cold reliever that’s taken to alleviate symptoms associated with nasal congestion.

And “supposed” is the operative word here, because while it takes away the congestion, Zicam takes it a step further:  it takes away your sense of smell!!

According to a multitude of complaints filed to the FDA, Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel has caused serious problems for a lot of people who’ve used it.  Many of them are no longer able to smell quite like they used to prior to their using it, and in some cases, can’t smell at all!  And those who’ve lost their sense of smell entirely lost it after their first dosage.

Approximately 130 people have reported this nasal puzzle since 1999.  But that’s a very unofficial number, as those are only the cases that have been reported to the FDA.  Who knows how many people suffer from anosmia overall, thanks to Zicam’s zany “remedy.” (anosmia is the medical term used for loss or impaired sense of smell).

Matrixx, the maker of Zicam, denies these claims, saying the links made to anosmia and Zicam’s use are “misleading” and “scientifically unfounded.”

Their denials weren’t enough to salvage their stock price, though, as shares of Matrixx took a nosedive, falling 55 percent in a single day (closing at $8.56).  Trading is now halted on Matrixx shares per the FDA’s warning.

See, occasionally, the FDA bites the bullet and clamps down on dangerous over-the-counter drugs.  They could be doing more, but I suppose it’s only fair that I give them credit when it’s due.

If you really want to combat a cold, arm yourself with what I like to call “The Mangano Common Cold Defense Arsenal.” You can find more in-depth information on this cold-weaponry here, but the arsenal includes zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea, goldenseal, and garlic.

Successful battles are won with a great defense, and when it comes to “cold war” battles, these defense mechanisms will have cold symptoms raising the white flag of surrender.

This report shows why it’s important to steer clear of Zicam and other over-the-counter drugs that so often do more harm than help; sapping your sense of smell is just the latest example.  You’ll never find that with natural supplements like these.

The only thing they’ll sap is a cold’s ability to wreak havoc on your immune system.

Sources:
money.cnn.com

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Comments

Comment from kenmcswain
Time June 21, 2009 at 3:16 am

Before Zicam came along, I had heard that zinc lozenges kept colds from getting a hold on the body. My colds always start with a tickling in the throat at the base of the nasal passages. I let the zinc lozenges melt in my mouth and bathe my throat. It worked every time. Sometimes I had to do it a couple of times, but it always stopped the colds in their tracks. Often I was unable to find the lozenges so I used zinc gluconate tablets. It worked too, but tasted terrible. When Zicam came along I switched to it and have been quite pleased with it. It worked for me just as intended and stopped colds dead in their tracks, just by using a pre-measured squirt in each nostril. Usually one application was all it took. If I awoke in the middle of the night with that dreaded throat tickle, I immediately got up and used Zicam and went back to bed. When I would wake up in the morning, my throat would be normal and – Bingo – the cold was foiled again.

The key for me was using it as soon as I felt the first cold symptom. If I waited too long, then the cold did invade and take over, although in my opionion, it was less severe if I used zinc, albeit a little too late to stop the cold entirely.

I am 68, in perfect health [fitness enthusiast and long distance bicycler], and I have not noticed a loss in my sense of smell.

That’s my opinion and I stand by it.

I knew a year or so ago that lawyers were making big bucks sueing Zicam. Once lawyers smell money, other lawyers immediately try to get in on the action. That’s how they make a living. The FDA is a government agency that may act for political reasons at times [as most government agencies do when their superiors demand it] and I know that trial lawyers are one of the biggest constituency donors to this administration, so I put very little credence in the FDA and their actions.

Again, this is my opinion and I stand by it.

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