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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

The FDA announced consumers should avoid the nasal spray Zicam due to the risk of permanent loss of smell. 130 people have reported losing their sense of smell after using Zicam products since 1999, according to MSNBC.

Zicam is an over-the-counter product which contains zinc, an ingredient scientists say could potentially damage nerves in the nose needed for the sense of smell. Other products affected by the FDA announcement include adult and kid-size Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs.

Doctors stated the loss of smell could be life threatening since it would prevent an individual from being able to detect a gas leak or a house fire.

As a personal injury lawyer who’s been practicing law for over 20 years, it always upsets me when I hear about an over-the-counter product harming people’s health. This product should have been tested before hitting the open market. However, the FDA stated Zicam Cold Remedy was never formally approved because it falls under the category of homeopathic products, which usually contain herbs, minerals and flowers.

Homeopathic products are not required to go through federal review, which puts people at risk for horrific side effects (e.g. loss of smell). The laws need to be changed to give the FDA the power to regulate such products. The current regulations just aren’t strict enough, plain and simple.

Here’s a video talking about the FDA warning of Zicam nasal spray…


Zicam is produced by Matrixx Initiatives and is a highly profitable product. In fact, it accounted for 40 percent of the company’s over $100 million dollars in sales from 2008, according to MSBNC.

Matrixx settled numerous lawsuits in connection with Zicam recently, but their web site still claims, “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.” I suppose Matrixx is claiming a substantial settlement is not "winning" a court case, but without quibbling, lets all agree that when the FDA says Zicam has caused permanent injury, we can believe it.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.


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