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FDA orders Zicam recall


Popular intranasal spray Zicam is being recalled as the Food & Drug Administration warns of 130 cases of anosmia- loss of the sense of smell.

Some Zicam users reporting anosmia say that the condition started with the first dose, while others indicate the symptoms did not appear until multiple doses had been administered. Officials have not yet determined if the condition is permanent, and fear the intranasal gel spray may be damaging nerves. The FDA expressed concern that consumers are using Zicam for a minor, “self-limiting condition” (such as a cold) and inadvertently risk damaging their quality of life permanently.

The affected products have been pulled from store shelves across the country and the FDA have advised that all remaining product should be discarded and not used for any reason. Zicam manufacturer Matrixx Initiatives has 15 days to respond to the allegations and must submit all user complaints to the FDA. In a statement on their website, Matrixx Initiatives says:

“No plaintiff has ever won a court case, because there is no known causal link between the use of Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and impairment of smell.”

Products named in the recall include Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs (Kids Size.) On news of the recall, Matrixx Initiatives stock plummeted 55%.

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21 Responses to “FDA orders Zicam recall”

  1. asty

    He FDA said they received more than 130 reports of anosmia—the loss of sense of smell—associated with use of above three Zicam products. Many people who experienced a loss of sense of smell say that the condition occurred with the …
    Exclusive Video here:zicam-story

  2. dhgatsby

    Is this new news? I have had friends claim the same thing. They lost their sense of smell. This was two years ago.

  3. Michelle

    I used the Zicam spray that goes in your mouth almost a year ago this month and I lost my sense of smell and taste. I went to three doctors and have tried everything I could with no results. I have suffered with this for almost a solid year and can tell you its hell. I would never have thought that not smelling or tasting could be so life altering but it really is horrible. I can't tell if there is a fire or other harmful fumes in the air not to mention enjoy a meal or the smell of fresh air or a baby's scent. If Zicam is responsible for this I want them to pay.

  4. Teacher

    Zicam is a school teacher's friend in the winter months.

    I wouldn't be surprised if drug companies who sell antibiotics are behind this one.

    While a cold and sinus infection are not the same, a cold gone unchecked can turn into a sinus infection often.

    I think it is a scam on the part of the drug companies.

  5. Sabrina

    Are you kidding me? I have a bladder condition that makes me feel like I have a UTI 24/7. I would gladly lose my smell as a replacement. Plus if you can't smell or taste, then you dont over eat. Sounds wonderful to me. Now I have 2 week long colds to look forward to. THANKS FDA!

  6. GordonGecko

    Well, I definitely lost my sense of smell but didn't think it was because of Zicam. I guess I know now.

  7. Michelle

    I know it seems minimal to people who can still smell and taste. No one could possibly imagine it unless they are afflicted with it, I know I couldn't have possibly imagined it until it happened to me. You would think that it would make you eat less but the truth is you actually eat more because you are never satisfied because you can't taste and enjoy the food. You are always wanting that craving satisfied but it never happens so its a vicious cycle. You have this void in your mouth and when you brush your teeth you can't taste the toothpaste or get that clean mouth feeling. There is so much you would miss about BOTH senses you can't even imagine. So be careful what you wish for because if it happened to you, you'd be singing another tune. Good luck with your bladder condition. I'll say a prayer that you find relief from that pain.

  8. Michelle

    The numbers don't lie. I'm finding out that I am not alone and many, many others have used these products and had their sense of smell and taste taken away. There aren't that many coincidences in the world. In 2006 the makers of Zicam paid 12 million dollars to well over 300 people who lost their senses and they have an additional 800 complaints they have to report to the FDA. I at least know what caused this for me which isn't much help but does solve the mystery of why a perfectly healthy young woman has been stripped of two senses that people take seriously for granted.

  9. Glass fuser

    More and more, government gets into our lives. How about a warning label as to the “possibility” of a smell and taste loss? Then consumers can decide for themselves. Seems to be okay on a carton of cigarettes to warn consumers and yet you can still purchase them. Just finished my cold in 4 days thanks to Zicam!

  10. Elle

    I will never stop using Zicam, until I can't find it any longer. It has saved my butt several times over the years, and I've watched my husband get really sick (not using it) when I only got a light, 2-day cold (using it). I've always used it according to the package directions, which is to apply it to the outer part of the nostril. Who knows that these people didn't squirt it way up in their nose, which is clearly against package directions? 130 cases isn't enough to stop me from using it. Thankfully, I still have 2 packages in my medicine cabinet. I agree with the warning label philosophy. 130 cases isn't enough to stop me from using it. SAVE THE ZICAM!!!!

  11. nursebev

    I am a nurse who works in an after hours clinic and exposed to hundreds of adenoviruses and rhinoviruses. I carry Zicam nasal gel and throat spray with me at all times. I have had at least 25-30 sore throats which never turned into a full blown respiratory illness because the zinc stopped the “virus” from replicating as stated in a journal in the year 2000. The journal was something like “the 100 most important medical discoveries of the 20th century” (and I wish I could remember the exact document.) The “discovery” was that zinc encapsulated “cold” viruses and stopped them from replicating. I use Zicam as directed and have had only one cold last September because I didn't have any Zicam and my sore throat turned into an upper respiratory illness causing stuffy/plugged/runny nose, cough with phlegm, and miserable body aches and fatigue. I missed several days of work. I will continue to use Zicam and try and find the nasal gel in Canada. I have a feeling Zicam has worked on flu viruses as well, because I have been exposed to flu many times and never contracted it. I have also never received a flu shot, and never will.
    The pharma giants have probably lost quite a lot of revenue because so many colds have been thwarted for so many people. Especially with the new “flu virus” scare. I will continue to use Zicam as long as it is available…and as far as my smell? I smell something fishy going on with the FDA shutting down something that works.

  12. jeanineknowlton

    This is bogus.. I am outraged that this could happen. I swear by Ziacam.. I only have about half a box left in my house and I have a large family. My husband is an elementary teacher, and I work in the health field. We have not had any colds in this house because of Ziacam. 180 some odd cases? of an unproven claim. This smells rotten of the big drug companies. Cigarettes are known to cause disease, has the FDA taken those off the shelf? Why because they dont dare go upagainst big tabacco money. Every single drug on the market can cause a side effect, name me one that does not. I'm sorry for anyone that has lost their sense of smell regardless of the reason. But its not fair for the FDA to take this off the market so quickly. Bring back Ziacam with a warning on the label if that is what they want. I'd take my chances, I use it correctly, I agree most if not all of those “claiming” Ziacam did this to them, probably didnt use it correctly. Overuse of anything can hurt you, even water can kill you.. Wake up people, big government is taking over our lives, we loose more and more choices daily. I hope the Ziacam people fight this, until then I guess I have to look to find Ziacam on the black market, maybe you can still buy it in Canada.

  13. rgb0205

    I took Zicam 4 years ago this past March and I suffer from what doctors have called disanosmia which is a distorted sense of taste and smell. Instead of losing my senses all together everything that I can smell equates to sour trash or even worse. My wife stopped wearing perfume and had to change her toothpaste. I still can't stand the smell of some people (because of their perfume, soap, shampoo, cologne, etc…). I haven't been able to drink a dark colored soda or drink white wine for 4 years. Red wine is tolerable but still does not taste right. Light colored beer tastes bad. Cleaning products are horrible as well as cigarette smoke. I can't eat bar-b-que and being from Texas that is a bad thing. I went to 3 ENT doctors and one neurologist who said that the product effected my olfactory nerve which is the nerve that enables your sense of taste and smell. I even tried accupuncture for 8 weeks with no improvement. I can tell you that having lived with this for the past 4 years it never gets easier. I lodged a compliant very early on with the FDA who told me at that time there was nothing they could do because the drug was listed as homeopathic. I for one am glad to see this has happened. It has been my number one goal for the last several years to get this product off the shelves. There is too much coincidence for this product not to be the cause. If you have a law suit against the company good luck. If not, contact a lawyer…this could get interesting

  14. kramlow

    Because my body burns through Zinc like it's going out of style (persistent zinc deficiency), I have been using Zicam for years *every* day and up to several times per day when fighting off a cold/flu. Originally started off with oral zinc (chelated zinc supplement), but it began to upset my stomach so much that I couldn't continue. That's when I found Zicam. I was aware of the loss of smell claims by some, so I stopped taking it & went back to oral zinc. In no time I started feeling lousy & run down so I started using Zicam again. Still, no problem with reduced smell or taste, thankfully. That being said, I'm wondering what I'll do now that nasal Zicam has been pulled from the shelves. :(

  15. NancyRN

    This ia crazy and really makes me angry!

    It seems to me that the people claiming to have lost their sense of smell and/or taste at the hands of Zicam are just looking for someone to blame. Our society loves a law suit and someone to “pay” for every unfortunate event that happens to people. I'm sorry these people have no sense of smell, but I don't beleive for a second that it is due to Zicam being used PROPERLY.

    I have been using the gel swabs for many years now and have never had a problem. It clearly states on the label to NOT stick it way up your nose or to SNIFF up the gel. This seems like just another way for the drug companies and lawyes to make money off some sad situations. I say PLEASE stop looking for someone to blame so you can get your mortgage paid off. The rest of us have to work hard everyday to make a living in this country, maybe you should try that too.

  16. Klynn

    zicam is ridiculous!!!! I used it almost 3 weeks ago and ever since then I've been getting really bad bloody noses. there not just small ones either. i am going to sue zicam!! Never use this product!

  17. Michelle

    You know what's crazy and makes me really angry??? That you or anyone would make such insulting claims when you don't have any clue what you are talking about or the character of the people you insulted. I have never sued anyone in my entire life even when I was in a terrible accident and could have made a pretty penny off the 17 year old kid who was texting, ran a stop sign and T-boned me on my way home from work. People told me I was nuts but I do not believe in lawsuits in most cases and don't need anyone to “pay off my mortgage” because I get up and go to work everyday and so does my husband.Also, to those who accuse us of not taking the medication properly I can tell you that I did. I didn't use the gel swabs or the nasal spray I used the one that you spray inside your mouth. I used it exactly as the package directed as I do all medications I take which doesn't happen to be many. So maybe before you all get on here and run your mouth off about how this is our fault and we are sue happy people (I haven't even looked into sueing Zicam) you should consider that you have no idea what kind of people we are or what we have suffered at the hands of this product. If you have had sucess with it thats wonderful, good for you. As angry as I am right now at your ignorance I still wouldn't wish losing your senses on my worst enemy!!!

  18. jamiecaye

    If zicam is recalled, how can we be reembursed? It isn't right that we consumers pay good money for a product that we can't even use. I feel screwed.
    As a single mom, even spending the money on these products was a hardship.
    Compensation should be legally mandatory!

  19. cumbira

    I work with kids and Zicam has helped me to ward off many colds without losing sense of smell.
    I find it hard to believe that people don't seem to understand it is normal to lose your sense of smell and taste while going and recoving from a bad cold.

    Don't people realize that there are worse products that the FDA have approved – Tylenol and Advil cause both Liver and Kidney problems. I'm surprised that more people haven't jumped on the lawsuit bandwagon regarding these products.

    What about all those prescription drugs approved by the FDA with a huge list of terrible side effects. The FDA are a bunch of clowns with way too much power.

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