This past Tuesday, FDA told consumers who are using Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel and related products to stop use immediately. These products have the possibility of permanently damaging the sense of smell, according to CBS News.
These over-the-counter products contain Zinc. Zinc is an ingredient scientists are saying that can damage nerves in the nose—the nerves needed for smell.
Since 1999, about 130 consumers reported a loss of smell after using Matrixx Initiatives’ Zicam products.
Dr. Charles Lee, part of FDA’s compliance division, said, “Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life threatening and may be permanent. People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect dangerous life situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house.”
Currently, Matrixx is defending the safety of its products. However, they said that there is a possibility that they may remove them from the market.
Zicam Cold Remedy was NEVER formally approved because it is part of a group of remedies not required to go through federal review before launching. They are considered homeopathic treatments, something FDA has never fully regulated.
No formal recall has been announced. FDA sent the company a warning letter asking them to stop marketing its zinc-based products.
Surprisingly, “the global market for homeopathic drugs is about $200 million per year, according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists.”
If you are using these products, it’s highly recommended that you stop.