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FDA Warns Zicam Can Permanently Damage Smell

Friday July 10, 2009
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised consumers to stop using three products marketed over-the-counter as cold remedies because they are associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia). Anosmia may be long-lasting or permanent.

The products are: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel; Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs; and Kids Size Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs (a discontinued product).

The FDA has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell associated with the use of these three Zicam products. In these reports, many people who experienced a loss of smell said the condition occurred with the first dose; others reported a loss of the sense of smell after multiple uses of the products.

The FDA has issued Matrixx Initiatives, maker of these Zicam products, a warning letter telling it that these products cannot be marketed without FDA approval.

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to report adverse events related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program at 800-FDA-1088.

To comment, email editorNTL@gannetthg.com.