A popular over-the-counter cold remedy is now on the FDA’s shady list. Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size, are for use in the nose to alleviate congestion and other symptoms of a cold. The FDA says that more than 130 people have reported a serious loss of the sense of smell after using one of these products, which contain zinc. The agency has asked the manufacturer to stop selling these products and warned consumers not to use them, even if they have some left over at home. Loss of the sense of smell may be an irreversible side effect.
The manufacturer, Matrixx Initiatives, confirms that it received the warning letter and has suspended the shipment of these products. It objects to the FDA’s characterization, however, and also points out that its other cold and allergy remedies are not affected by the agency’s action. The company has settled over 300 lawsuits for claims that Zicam nasal gel harmed the sense of smell.