Q. I just read a question about Zicam Cold Remedy. Here is another instance of loss of sense of smell from this zinc nasal gel.

My sister took it recently and immediately lost her sense of smell. Her doctors say she will be lucky to get 30 percent back. After 5 weeks, she has barely any sense of smell. She is a medical practitioner and knew how to follow the directions explicitly.

A. Consumer Reports (Jan. 2007) notes that “studies with animals and case reports suggest that nasal zinc may cause loss of smell, possibly permanent. Last year we [CR] unearthed more than 200 complaints to the Food and Drug Administration about an impaired sense of smell, taste, or both after using zinc nasal products.”

People who want to take zinc to fight cold symptoms might want to stick with zinc pills or lozenges so that nasal passages are not directly exposed.


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  1. B L

    Before twenty years on one incident I suffered a strong smell of Ammonia. It was only for for 15 minutes. But it affected me badly.
    Because of it I lost the sense of smell. Till today I have no sense of smell.
    I do not have any health problem. I am now sixty years old.
    Will you pl. guide me and help me to get my sense of smell back ?
    B L
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Sadly, this is an area in which there don’t seem to be good remedies.

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