On June 16, 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement advising consumers to stop using three Zicam products because of their alleged link with causing loss of smell (anosmia). Anosmia may be long-lasting or permanent.
The Zicam Cold Remedy Products recalled included:
–Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel
–Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs
–Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (a discontinued product)
All products were marketed as over the counter remedies for the common cold. All have since been taken off the shelves by Zicam, who claim they will investigate further into the allegations.
The FDA has received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell by users of the three Zicam products listed above. 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. In 2003 Matrixx Initiatives Inc settled with 340 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit alleging Zicam had caused a loss of the sense of smell; in that case they settled for nearly $11,000,000.
People who have used Zicam products and experienced a loss of smell should contact a health care professional and a Zicam attorney immediately. Anosmia is a serious condition that can place people in life threatening situations, such as gas leaks and fires.
The FDA has issued Matrixx Initiatives, the company responsible for making Zicam products, a letter telling them their products cannot be marketed as they were, without FDA approval.