Recently we blogged about the dangers of zinc buildup as a result of long-term
use of denture creams, and now it seems zinc once again rears its ugly
head! The popular over-the-counter cold remedy, Zicam, can allegedly harm
or destroy a user’s sense of smell. Only the nasal products are involved.
Since 1999, when Zicam nasal products became available to the public, the
Food and Drug Administration has received some 130 reports detailing the
loss of sense of smell. These reports came from both consumers and medical
professionals. The manufacturer of Zicam, Matrixx Initiatives, reportedly
received more than 800 reports from those who suffered from a loss of
sense of smell, but the company did not share this information with the FDA.
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed; in fact, in 2006 Matrixx Initiatives,
paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits.
The FDA recently issued a consumer alert to warn consumers not to use the
Zicam nasal products. Zicam is considered a homeopathic remedy and thus
not held to strict federal standards. In fact, Matrixx did not even need
the FDA’s approval to sell the products. The FDA lacks the authority
to force product recalls and in the past has relied on negotiations with
companies to initiate voluntary recalls. Congress is currently considering
some bills that would give the FDA the power to order mandatory recalls.
For more information, see