Zicam Cold Remedy
The manufacturer of the cold remedy Zicam issued a recall notice in June 2009 for two of its products after it was revealed that they could cause a permanent loss of sense of smell. The withdrawal of Zicam occurred after the Food and Drug Administration received at least 130 reports of consumers who had lost their sense of smell after using Zicam products.
Products included in the recall were “Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel” and “Zicam Cold Remedy Gel Swabs.” In addition, the FDA warned consumers to stop using “Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size,” which had previously been discontinued by the manufacturer, because of the risk of permanent damage to their sense of smell.
Zicam is an over-the-counter cold remedy intended to reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. One of the ingredients in Zicam’s nasal sprays and swabs is zinc, which experts say may damage nerves in the nose which are necessary for smelling. However, because Zicam is considered a “homeopathic” remedy, it was never required to undergo a formal safety review by the FDA before going on the market.
The FDA says that although many patients used Zicam several times before experiencing a loss of smell, some consumers reported losing their sense of smell after using Zicam only a single time. The agency warned Zicam users that the loss of smell may be permanent and could be life-threatening in some cases.
In addition to the 130 reports submitted to the FDA by doctors and patients, the FDA stated that it has also asked Matrixx to turn over more than 800 customer complaints regarding loss of smell after using Zicam.
A number of consumers have filed lawsuits against Matrixx, alleging that the use of Zicam nasal sprays or swabs caused them to lose their sense of smell. Matrixx has agreed to settlements in hundreds of the lawsuits filed over Zicam in recent years, although a number of federal and class action lawsuits are still pending.
If you have used a Zicam cold remedy and experienced a loss of sense of smell, contact the law office of Hissey Kientz to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out a free case evaluation form to the right of this page.