Zicam products were listed as homeopathic treatments containing natural ingredients, according to the December 6 issue of the Medical Letter on the CDC and FDA. Despite their growing popularity among consumers, homeopathic products are not within the normal mandate of the FDA and therefore escape the its scrutiny.
Researchers at the University of Washington studied Zicam and several other common cold and nasal sprays in an effort to determine their impact. Their study, published in the October 2009 issue of PLoS ONE, examined the short and long-term effects of several nasal sprays, including several products recommended and used by physicians. The lone homeopathic product, according to the Medical Letter, was Zicam.
"Our results demonstrate that Zicam use could irreversibly damage mouse and human nasal tissue and may lead to significant smell dysfunction," the research group concluded.
In June the FDA issued a warning letter to the manufacturer of Zicam, Mattrix Initiatives Inc., to alert the company to a "significant and growing body of evidence [substantiating] that the Zicam Cold Remedy intranasal products may pose a serious risk to consumers who use them."
READ MORE ZICAM SMELL LOSS LEGAL NEWS
The federal drug regulator indicated that it had received upwards of 130 reports of anosmia (loss of smell) since the product first went on the market in 1999. Some consumers have stated that the loss of their sense of smell occurred after the first dose, whereas others used the product for a time before developing symptoms.
The loss of a sense of smell has a direct relationship on the ability to taste food. Not only does this prove devastating to those who work in the food industry or simply love food—it also impedes an individual's ability to smell or taste spoiled food, potentially causing severe health risks.