Zicam Side Effects

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Zicam® side effects can include upset stomach, diarrhea, kidney damage and stomach damage. Zicam® nasal spray and swabs have been connected to severe side effects, such as a permanent loss of the senses of taste and smell.[1]

Zicam® is an OTC zinc supplement and homeopathic remedy which is marketed to treat colds. Zicam's® effectiveness has not been substantiated by the FDA. A 2011 study concluded that zinc remedies, including zinc tablets, lozenges, or other formulas, taken within one day of the first symptoms can cut colds short by a day or more and significantly decrease the severity of symptoms.[1] Another report from March 2008 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases reported that lozenges containing zinc could shorten the duration of common colds from seven to four days and decrease coughing from five days to two. The studies point out that the use of zinc-based products for this purpose remain controversial.[2]


Flickr: mahernandez
Brand name for Combination of zincum gluconicum, zincum aceticum[3]
Manufacturer Zicam®, LLC, owned by Matrixx Initiatives, Inc.[4]
Uses The manufacturer claims that Zicam® reduces the duration and symptoms of common colds.[3]
Common side effects Upset stomach, diarrhea, irritation on contact with broken skin[3]
Who should not take Zicam®? Men with BPH or prostate cancer[3]
Disclaimer The information provided by PharmacyDrugGuide.com is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell


Common Zicam® Side Effects

Zicam® oral products are most likely safe, with a low likelihood of side effects when taken in recommended dosages. However, some users may experience adverse reactions such as nausea, diarrhea and a metallic taste in the mouth. In some cases, stomach or kidney damage may occur.[3] Intra-nasal version of Zicam® that are made to be sprayed into the nose, however, may pose significant risks. The most dangerous side effects of the intra-nasal versions of Zicam® are loss of sense of smell and taste, which can be permanent.[5]


About Drug Side Effects

Side effects of drugs such as Zicam

Zicam® Allergic Reactions

Zinc is an essential element present in small amounts in the human body; therefore, allergy to the mineral itself is rare. However, reactions to Zicam® can be caused by an allergy to zinc-based compounds or one of the various inactive ingredients used in different versions of Zicam®. The inactive ingredients of Zicam® chewable tablets include corn syrup, coconut oil, sucrose, sucralose, sugar, glycerin and natural and artificial flavors and colors.[6]

Zicam® Precautions and Warnings

In 2009, the FDA released a fact sheet containing a warning about the nasal versions - gels and swabs - of Zicam®. According to the FDA, reports of loss of the sense of smell (called anosmia) connected with the use of three intranasal Zicam® products represent a significant safety risk. Anosmia is a disabling condition that can lead to permanent smelling loss. The FDA notes that the cold is a temporary condition, while the damage from Zicam® nasal products can be permanent and result in health risks among those who cannot smell smoke, gas leaks, or rotten food. The specific Zicam® products that are the subjects of this warning are:

  • Zicam® Cold Remedy Nasal Gel (NDC 62750-003-10)
  • Zicam® Cold Remedy Swabs (NDC 62750-003-20)
  • Zicam® Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (NDC 62750-003-21)[7]

Also See: Zicam Coupons, Alka Seltzer Coupons, Allegra Coupons, Claritin Coupons, Benadryl Coupons, Aleve Coupons, Sudafed Coupons



  1. 1.0 1.1 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/for-cold-virus-zinc-may-edge-out-even-chicken-soup/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18279051
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?id=37274
  4. http://www.matrixxinc.com/
  5. http://www.fda.gov/Newsevents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm167065.htm
  6. http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=59329
  7. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm166927.htm