Side Effects of Zicam


Zicam is a line of homeopathic cold remedy products with minimal to no side effects, except for two products which were recalled by the company in 2009. Zicam cold remedies contain zinc gluconate, and are designed to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. The company also sells allergy relief remedies which do not include zinc gluconate.


In June 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised people not to use Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel or Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs.

The Problem

The FDA received over 130 reports of people saying their sense of smell had become impaired after using these products. The problem has proven to be long-lasting for some users, and the FDA warns it could be permanent.

Additional Side Effects

Many people also reported burning sensations in the nose and sinuses from the use of these two products.

Other Products

Zicam offers other zinc gluconate products, including chewables, lozenges and an oral spray mist. The most common side effects with ingested zinc cold remedy medications are stomach upset and nausea. Taking zinc with food can help.

Allergic Reaction

Some people can have an allergic reaction to zinc gluconate and thus to Zicam cold remedies. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, throat closing, facial or mouth swelling, and rash or hives.

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