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  1. #1

    Exclamation FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Not sure where this should go, as it is not "fragrance industry" per se, but the concern of an OTC homeopathic product that could possibly affect ones ability to smell. Personally, I have used this product in the past with no problem.

    Here is the link:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090616/...ne_fda_warning

    An extract:

    WASHINGTON Consumers should stop using Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and related products because they can permanently damage the sense of smell, federal health regulators said Tuesday.

    The over-the-counter products contain zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell. The other products affected by the Food and Drug Administration's announcement are adult and kid-size Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs.

    The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using Zicam products since 1999.

    "Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life threatening and may be permanent," said Dr. Charles Lee. "People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect life dangerous situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house."

    The FDA said Zicam Cold Remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. Known as homeopathic products, the formulations often contain herbs, minerals and flowers.

    A warning letter issued to manufacturer Matrixx Initiatives on Tuesday asked the company to stop marketing its zinc-based products, but the agency did not issue a formal recall. Instead, regulators said Matrixx would have to submit safety and effectiveness data on the drug.

    "The next step, if they wish to continue marketing Zicam intranasal zinc products, is for them is for them to come in and seek FDA approval," said Deborah Autor, director of FDA's drug compliance division.

  2. #2

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Yikes!

  3. #3

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    I never used Zicam anyway, as I thought that there was something fishy behind Zicam's claims that it was "a cure for the common cold".

    Now I'm glad I didn't try it despite those constant TV ads and Sunday newspaper coupons virtually begging me to buy it.
    Celebrating 10 years on Basenotes - and smelling better than ever

    My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."

  4. #4

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Quote Originally Posted by MFfan310 View Post
    I never used Zicam anyway, as I thought that there was something fishy behind Zicam's claims that it was "a cure for the common cold".

    Now I'm glad I didn't try it despite those constant TV ads and Sunday newspaper coupons virtually begging me to buy it.
    Not that I can say for certain, but it seemed to help me with symptoms/duration when I used it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    This is scary ...about 10 years ago, my husband and I were avid waterskier/wakeboarders. He used to get severe sinus infections from the lake water (mostly during the hayfever season in later summer). His doctor gave him Zicam, and he used it faithfully everytime he had a sinus issue. His sense of smell (and taste) is very weak....he always blames it on those nasty sinus infections, but it could be from the Zicam . I hate when stuff like this happens.

  6. #6

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    What I want to know is why they've called it homeopathic when there is an actual active ingredient (zinc) involved?

  7. #7

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    After a quick search, looks like ZINC could be the culprit (though this is veeeery thin layer of online faff; I'd need to look into this properly to say more). Apparently zinc could be damaging to the smell receptors in the nose.

    With that in mind, the UK equivalent product, Vicks First Defence, should also be causing anosmia, but no such reports yet.

    First defence ingredients:
    Aqua, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (based on plant extracts), Succinic Acid, Disodium Succinate, PCA, Phenethyl alcohol, Zinc EDTA, Zinc Acetate, Polysorbate 80, Aroma; (Menthol, Camphor, Eucalyptol), Sodium Saccharin.
    So, options:

    a) neither of these products causes anosmia and there has been some mistake

    b) the US "homeopathic" product causes anosmia because....?

    c) Vicks First Defence may also be causing anosmia, but it's not publicised

    The Zicam product may be a bit harsh with the sodium hydroxide up the nose, maybe, or some kind of chemical reaction is happening, or who the heck knows.

    Alas, I'm going to refrain from using any nose sprays now until I do more research! Might be worth checking.

    Thanks for the info.

  8. #8

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell


  9. #9
    DON'T DRINK AND DRESS

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    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    This info has been circulating in the medical profession for several years. I heard of it from an ER nurse in 2006 and, having used the nasal swabs only once prior, never used them again.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  10. #10

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    I am always leery of zinc, or zinc containing products that enter the body or its cavities. I once took a zinc supplement, plain old zinc tablet actually, and after two weeks my sense of taste and smell were too much. I could taste flavors in food that were minute, I could smell fresh paint from a major distance. My scents all became very intense, which most are to begin with, but too much so. Once I stopped taking zinc everything returned to normal in about a week, although kept experiencing a metallic taste for almost a month afterward.
    Later found out that they give zinc supplements to elderly people who are starting to lose their sense of taste and smell...interesting.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  11. #11

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Another one is Flonase...

    As for zinc, there is such a thing as too much, esp. orally...and there is a diffrence between tolerated doses, recommended, etc..as well as what the body requires.

    Infections are treated with a proper course of antibiotics. Period. Zicam is a while you wait option, and continued exposure can only have simliar or worse outcomes which may even mask a worsening infection. Sinus infections can be quite serious.

    Symptom-specific relief frequently leads to worsened condition, another common ex. Visine for "reddened eyes" along with rebound effects... and let's not forget Affrin...

  12. #12

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    after years of suffering the worst allergies and sinus infections, and having miserable side effects from Flonase (isn't that a steriod?) i went with what my older daughter's now retired pediatrician recommened. saline spray (aerosol is best) twice a day when i feel a sinus headache and during the winter when central heating makes sinus cavities dangerously dry (encourages infections/bacteria growth). hate to sound like a fanatic, but nothing has worked as well as plain old saline.

    i take a mild zinc lozenge 2x a week ( a low dose) for skin problems- the taste IS nasty and metallic but other than that i have not noticed taste/smell issues.

  13. #13

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Nukapai View Post

    LOVE Snopes! i forward a link to it when i get some stupid email about a missing child or the latest abduction scam. remember the one about people that would come up to in a parking lot saying "Smell this perfume" and then you would end up unconcious? rich!

  14. #14

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Yes, 3xasif, saline spray.

  15. #15

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Nukapai View Post
    After a quick search, looks like ZINC could be the culprit (though this is veeeery thin layer of online faff; I'd need to look into this properly to say more). Apparently zinc could be damaging to the smell receptors in the nose.

    With that in mind, the UK equivalent product, Vicks First Defence, should also be causing anosmia, but no such reports yet.

    First defence ingredients:


    So, options:

    a) neither of these products causes anosmia and there has been some mistake

    b) the US "homeopathic" product causes anosmia because....?

    c) Vicks First Defence may also be causing anosmia, but it's not publicised

    The Zicam product may be a bit harsh with the sodium hydroxide up the nose, maybe, or some kind of chemical reaction is happening, or who the heck knows.

    Alas, I'm going to refrain from using any nose sprays now until I do more research! Might be worth checking.

    Thanks for the info.

    I lost my sense of taste after using Vicks First Defence. I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has experienced anything similar.

  16. #16

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    We already had a thread about this, check it out too, if you are interested:

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/256...97#post1883097

  17. #17

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedspud View Post
    I lost my sense of taste after using Vicks First Defence. I'd be keen to hear from anyone who has experienced anything similar.
    Hello... I lost 90% of my smell in 2008 after taking Vicks First Defence. As this is so Similar to Zicam, there has to be a link. All the US coverage I have looked at on YouTube describes my loss of smell and after effects.

    Please mail me direct.

  18. #18

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    I have to use Nasonex which I get on prescription. So I have a hole up my nose from using it. Yet the doctor cannot give me anything else. Still have my sense of smell though.
    DONNA

  19. #19

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    All I can say is
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  20. #20
    Robin-in-FL's Avatar
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    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    I've used Zicam, no problems with it, sense of smell always came back fine after the cold was gone, and it definitely did seem to shorten the duration of a cold when used early and as directed.

    But - I do not think it worked any better than 'nasal irrigation' with slightly salted water, which is nearly free, and seems to have the same effect of shortening the duration and mitigating the symptoms of a cold. That's what I've been doing since the Zicam came off the market.

  21. #21

    Default Re: FDA says Zicam nasal spray can cause loss of smell

    I just don't use nasal sprays of any kind, that said I have used zinc lozenges and they do work... but no longer.

    Another option that I DO use is a gargle with colloidal silver when I feel a cold coming on, it works very well. Apparently you can turn yourself grey by taking large quantities over time, but it does take overdosing consistently to do that. Colloidal silver has been used as an antibiotic before modern antibiotics were discovered.

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