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FDA Says Homeopathic Cure Can Cause Loss of Smell

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the make-sure-to-keep-that-poultice-wet dept.

Medicine 452

Hugh Pickens writes "The FDA has advised consumers to stop using Matrixx Initiatives' Zicam Cold Remedy nasal gel marketed over-the-counter as a cold remedy because it is associated with the loss of sense of smell (anosmia) that may be long-lasting or permanent. The FDA says about 130 consumers have reported a loss of smell after using the homeopathic cure containing zinc, an ingredient scientists say may damage nerves in the nose needed for smell and health officials say they have asked Matrixx executives to turn over more than 800 consumer complaints concerning lost smell that the company has on file. 'Loss of the sense of smell is potentially life-threatening and may be permanent,' said Dr. Charles Lee. 'People without the sense of smell may not be able to detect life-dangerous situations, such as gas leaks or something burning in the house.' The FDA said the remedy was never formally approved because it is part of a small group of remedies known as homeopathic products that are not required to undergo federal review before launching. The global market for homeopathic drugs is about $200 million per year, according to the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists. Matrixx has settled hundreds of lawsuits connected with Zicam in recent years, but says it 'will seek a meeting with the FDA to vigorously defend its scientific data, developed during more than 10 years of experience with the products, demonstrating their safety.'"

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452 comments

Fucking idiots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368687)

They need to withdraw that product NOW, not fucking battle it out with the FDA. stupid capitalism and stupid people to blame here

Re:Fucking idiots (4, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368743)

It seems to be still on sale though:

http://www.google.com/products?q=zicam [google.com]

Quick, buy it, pretend that you lost a sense of smell (let me see them prove otherwise) and then wait for a nice settlement check. Just kidding, that would be dishonest.

The skunk test (4, Interesting)

CanadianRealist (1258974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368813)

Lost your sense of smell have you?

Then of course you'd have no problem spending a few hours in a room full of skunks would you.
I kinda think they could devise some test to show that you were faking it.

Re:The skunk test (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368947)

Wouldn't mind that one bit... would make me want to smoke a joint really bad though.

Re:The skunk test (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369025)

Then of course you'd have no problem spending a few hours in a room full of skunks would you.

Even if I weren't able to smell, others would, and I wouldn't want my friends and family to avoid me for the next week.

Also nothing in TFA indicated it was an abject loss of smell, could just be a significant reduction, in which case a skunk would still smell bad.

On the other hand, what would the damages be? Lost wages as a perfume smeller? Usually my sense of smell does but one thing: annoy me.

Food flavor etc. (4, Informative)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369135)

Usually my sense of smell does but one thing: annoy me.

I highly doubt that. You just don't realize what your sense of smell is doing for you. For example, about 70% of what you think of as "taste" when you are eating food comes from your sense of smell. Without a sense of smell, your food will taste rather bland and you probably wouldn't be able to appreciate the more subtle flavors (and definitely the aromas) of various foods. Try it yourself. Next time you are stuffed up with a cold, try eating one of your favorite foods and see if it is still as full of flavor as you remember.

While humans don't use pheromones as actively as other animals, the sense of smell still plays a big part in arousal (and in stopping arousal, to be fair). Good smells make sex better. You do want to have better sex, don't you? (insert the "oh wait, this is slashdot" quips here).

And finally, all those things that annoy you about sense of smell are probably also helping to save your life. It lets you know that something is wrong (bad air, bad food, bad place, etc).

So, for a person's overall quality of life, I'd say that the loss of the sense of smell is a pretty big deal. It is not one of the senses I would want to lose. I'd rather lose my ability to hear.

Re:Food flavor etc. (4, Informative)

ctmurray (1475885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369223)

My sister lost her sense of smell after a bad cold. She can't smell natural gas, so this can be a serious issue. Later I read the smell of fire or burning things is quite useful as well. She had to get special natural gas detectors for her house (like smoke detectors - a loud shrill when set off). She mentions that food has no taste either.

Re:The skunk test (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369155)

On the other hand, what would the damages be? Lost wages as a perfume smeller? Usually my sense of smell does but one thing: annoy me.

You find no enjoyment from the flavor and aromas of food? The sense of taste is only a small component in food enjoyment. Losing one's sense of smell would make just about every food totally bland.

Re:The skunk test (0, Redundant)

Cylix (55374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369203)

You're sense of smell provides for most of your sense of taste.

Bland food for the rest of you're life would be a bit of a disappointment.

Re:Fucking idiots (1, Interesting)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368891)

I know someone who was suckered into taking a sip of ammonia when she was a little kid. 40 years later and she still doesn't have a sense of smell. They still sell ammonia, granted I'm talking apples and oranges (cleaning product vs something meant for use INSIDE the human body), but the ratio of puyers/drinkers of ammonia may only be slightly higher than the ratio of buyers of zicam/people who lost their smell. I use it to clean certain kinds of messes (i tend to clean with a chemist's mindset, if it reacts, it is no longer a mess, it is a salt), but on occasion, I lose the sense of smell and get a sore throat for a few hours. Though that tends to happen more so with bleach than ammonia.

Zicam is everywhere, even if there was a recall, you'd probably have 3-4 cold/flu seasons before you couldn't find it anymore.

Re:Fucking idiots (3, Insightful)

nwf (25607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368981)

Yes, but ammonia isn't marketed as something you snort or drink. Zicam is indeed marketed as a nasal spray.

Re:Fucking idiots (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369205)

Just to clarify, it's actually a nasal swab. You basically jam a slimy q-tip up your nose and swirl it around.

Re:Fucking idiots (1)

nwf (25607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369247)

Ah, a case of the cure worse than the disease! That doesn't sound pleasant.

Re:Fucking idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369161)

You should really consider changing your cleaning practices, I think...

Re:Fucking idiots (1)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369193)

pretend that you lost a sense of smell (let me see them prove otherwise)

That's easy: they just need to put some fermented dog poo under your nose while you don't expect it and watch your reaction :)

Re:Fucking idiots (1)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369249)

pretend that you lost a sense of smell (let me see them prove otherwise)

That's easy: they just need to put some fermented dog poo under your nose while you don't expect it and watch your reaction :)

Well, have to be both blind and anosmic(can't smell) to ignore fermented poo almost in your face.

Re:Fucking idiots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368783)

shut up you nazi faggot.

Wait, can't colds do that too? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368689)

Seriously, I get a cold, I can't smell anything either. So really, it seems I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.

Re:Wait, can't colds do that too? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368961)

A common cold goes away after 10 days at most. Then the sense of smell will come back.
That nasal gel can damage your nose nerves so you lose the sense of smell for a long time if not for the rest of your life.

It is quite a difference, quiaff?

Even worse, the sense of smell and taste are combined so you would also lose a part of your taste sense.

It's not really homeopathic (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368691)

if it actually does anything at all.

Re:It's not really homeopathic (2, Funny)

Rynor (1277690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368729)

It's funny cuz it's true

Re:It's not really homeopathic (5, Funny)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368789)

True. Apparently it "contains zinc" - according to this fact sheet [fda.gov] :

While Zicam also makes zinc-containing oral cold remedies, these are not subject to this warning because the development of anosmia appears to be related to the intranasal application of zinc.

Don't these guys know ANYTHING about homeopathic medicines? The strongest ones don't have any of the 'active ingredient' in them at all, you just take sugar pills and think happy thoughts at them until the sun shines out your ass.

Homeophobic (5, Funny)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369051)

Don't these guys know ANYTHING about homeopathic medicines?

Clearly not - they must be homeophobes.

Not necessarily... (4, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368897)

According to the warning letter [fda.gov] the solution contains "an active ingredient measured in homeopathic strength--Zincum Gluconicum 2X".
2X equals to 1:100 solution - which may be quite a significant dosage of the "active ingredient", depending on its nature. [wikipedia.org]

Incidentally, this is not the first time this particular maker of this particular homeopathic drug has been a cause of this particular health concern. [wikipedia.org]

There is more to it than meets the eye (0)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369061)

I do know people who had been successfully treated with homeopathy without knowing the intended effect. Specifically the subject stopped having uneasy sleep, which it had been having for a long time, just by taking a few drops of a bach flower remedy on a regular basis. The subject was a child, have never been told what was supposed to be cured and apparently there was no other reason for the end of the symptom.

I know homeopathy probably won't cure severe diseases, but it isn't as useless as people think. Seemingly there is no reason for it to work at all, yet there are people who get results by taking it.

Being skeptic will not achieve anything. If it seemingly works for some people we shouldn't say "it doesn't work" just because we believe it is not supposed to work. We should ask ourselves why it works. Discover why and in which circumstances it could work rather than just trying to disprove it.

Reality beats theory at any time, don't limit yourself to what the books say. You may even end up discovering something completely new.

Re:There is more to it than meets the eye (4, Insightful)

alexhard (778254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369207)

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Even if you for some reason choose to ignore the science known as chemistry, data acquired in a good manner shows that homeopathic "medicines" have no more effect than a placebo. It most definitely does not work.

Being a "skeptic" achieves not being fooled into taking placebos instead of proper drugs, which can save your life in many cases.

I need me some of that! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368693)

as does everyone else who works near cowboy neal. Dude's ass reeks like rotten cum and dead hamsters.

Zicam is not homeopathic... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368697)

The zinc gluconate is toxic to many bacteria, as well the cells that detect smell in some people, it turns out. But Zicam is not a homeopathic remedy, and was never marketed as such.

Re:Zicam is not homeopathic... (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368825)

Well, you're right that it's not really homeopathic, but you're wrong about it never being marketed as such. In fact, the word "Homeopathic" appears right on the front of the box, as is plainly visible here [madprofessor.net] .

However, the concentration of the active ingredient is around 2%, whereas the concentration in a true homeopathic "cure" would be approximately 0%. Basically, they marketed an unproven drug as homeopathic, when it wasn't, in order to get around FDA regulations.

Re:Zicam is not homeopathic... (3, Informative)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368839)

It may not be marketed as such but on the Zicam website [zicam.com] the nasal gel in question is described:

Zicam Allergy Relief Nasal Gel is an over-the-counter homeopathic nasal gel that provides safe and effective relief from the symptoms of hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure.

(Emphasis mine). So they themselves definitely describe it as homeopathic.

What made me laugh was this later entry in the Q&A:

Q: Why could it take 1-2 weeks before I notice the effect of Zicam Allergy Relief Nasal Gel?

Zicam Allergy Relief Nasal Gel begins working from the first time you use it. While it is not understood why consistent use over 1-2 weeks is necessary to see results, clinical research on this product indicate that it may take one to two weeks to see a decrease in symptoms. For best results, use Zicam Allergy Relief Nasal Gel up to one week before contact to known causes of your allergies.

Why not give the FDA full control? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368713)

I'm trying to think of a downside to making all medications and supplements require FDA approval. If everything on the counter had to be certified as both safe and effective, it'd kill the snakeoi-ahem, supplement, industry. But would we really lose out on any potential groundbreaking drugs? Has anyone ever heard of an OTC supplement that went on to revolutionize medicine because it got to market before the big bad government could look too closely at it?

Re:Why not give the FDA full control? (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368815)

The downside is that it would require regulating corporations, and a substantial portion of the populace is deathly afraid of that. Ironically enough, people can and do die because of the opposition to proper regulation.

It's also expensive which would require businesses to pay more or for the government to grow. Also things which the same portion of the populace is terrified of.

Personally, I'm fine if people want to injure themselves in that fashion, but I want to be able to know that anything I use is as safe as possible. Realistically we can't test everything sufficiently to be absolutely certain, but we can test in a prudent manner to at least uncover the more obvious risks.

Re:Why not give the FDA full control? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369035)

Or you know, people can and do die because a cure can't be tested fast enough to be 100% certain that it works, however if it cures one life, its worth it. I mean, if someone was dying of cancer and had only a year to live, took a drug, it worked temporarily and they die 10 years later because of something the drug did, thats still better (no one can live forever). Plus, just look at the "miracle berry" case, where the FDA was essentially bought by the sugar industry that prevented a potentially useful item to market.

A free market regulates itself if it is free enough.

Re:Why not give the FDA full control? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368899)

I'm trying to think of a downside to making all medications and supplements require FDA approval.

The downside is that the process produces both:

  - long delays (during which people suffer and perhaps die) and:

  - enormous costs (which keep some safe-and-effective drugs from reaching the market and raise the costs of medications which DO make it through the gauntlet - and must pay for both themselves and their share of the ones that fail).

When the legislation was first proposed it was estimated that if it added six months to the introduction of new medications it was a net loss. Now it takes years and tens of millions of dollars per new drug that starts testing.

One estimate of these costs - in a Wall Street Journal headline - is that the delay required for approving the use of Beta Blockers in the US to prevent secondary heart attacks (after they were approved for that in Europe) resulted in 100,000 deaths.

Re:Why not give the FDA full control? (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368991)

I'm trying to think of a downside to making all medications and supplements require FDA approval.

Where to begin?

If you can't imagine that freedom is a viable option, then have you considered the thousands of people who die every year waiting for the bureaucrats to allow them to use the medicine they need?

-jcr

Re:Why not give the FDA full control? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369133)

I think it's a matter of finding where you can maximize the saving of lives. Either extreme would result in more people dying than somewhere in the middle. Absolutely no restriction would result in dangerous drugs being released to he public, or more likely, drugs that simply do nothing at all. At the other extreme, full government control will be too costly and take too long and people will die waiting for drugs that we know work to get approved. Arguing that we need no regulation makes as little sense as arguing that the government should run the entire thing top to bottom. Both notions are absurd.

Now, where in the middle is the life saving power of medicine maximized? I do not know the answer to that.

Works both ways (2, Informative)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368731)

Homoeopathic medication consists of almost only inactive ingredients. The so-called active ingredients are typically diluted beyond the point of having any real effect. In this case, that could be an excellent defense for Matrixx.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd23gBkhf9A [youtube.com]

Cheers!

Re:Works both ways (3, Informative)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368819)

Homoeopathic medication consists of almost only inactive ingredients.

Well the active ingredients can actually have pharmacological effects, whether beneficial or adverse, but like you said the point is that they are often diluted so much that there is not a single molecule of the active ingredient left in the solution. However, there are different dilution ratios used, and some products actually aren't diluted enough for the effects to disappear, which can be dangerous as apparently was the case with this particular "medicine".

Re:Works both ways (2, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369173)

The notation for homeopathic dilution is #X where 1/(10^#) is the percent concentration of the "active" ingredient. Typical strengths of 10X or even 100X are so small that they have no effect. In Ziacam, however, the active ingredient is Zinc, and the dilution is 2X. A 1% solution isn't dilute enough to completely discount effects when you're spraying it into your nose several times a day for several weeks.

Basically, zicam only calls itself homeopathic (and it may have other "ingredients" diluted to homeopathic amounts), it isn't *actually* homeopathic. Calling yourself homeopathic when you're not is crazy enough that I had to verify this a few years ago...

If I hadn't used so much Zicam Cold Remedy.... (5, Funny)

xiao_haozi (668360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368735)

If I hadn't used so much Zicam Cold Remedy I would say this smells fishy.

Anosmia? (0)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368739)

Anosmia? You know, I always thought it was very funny that losing your sense of smell was called anosmia. "Anos-mia", you know, like "schnoz-mia." Don't you find that very funny?

Re:Anosmia? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368779)

"My dog has no nose."

"How does he smell?"

"Awful!"

Re:Anosmia? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368853)

I read it as "a-nose-MIA". A nose, missing in action.

Re:Anosmia? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369163)

Yes, but not as funny as rhinoplasty.

Repeat (2, Interesting)

Foxxxy (217437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368747)

Since when did Slashdot become CNN's day after repeat? Must be a slow geek week as this isn't the first repeat

Zicam [cnn.com]

Pull it off the market (4, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368751)

This product needs to be removed from the market. I'd like to see stricter controls on things like this. Anything that attempts to cure or prevent disease needs to be evaluated and tested by the FDA. All supplements, vitamins, these cold prevention products should all have to shown to be safe and do what they claim BEFORE they can be sold.

Re:Pull it off the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368905)

This product needs to be removed from the market. I'd like to see stricter controls on things like this. Anything that attempts to cure or prevent disease needs to be evaluated and tested by the FDA. All supplements, vitamins, these cold prevention products should all have to shown to be safe and do what they claim BEFORE they can be sold.

While we are at it, lets pull off the market chemical substances which are known to cause bodily harm that have nearly no medicinal value off the market:

Alcoholic beverages
Cigarettes

Disclosing the risks isn't enough... no. We need the government to tell us what we are and are not allowed to put into our bodies some more.

Re:Pull it off the market (5, Insightful)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368997)

Are you genuinely claiming to be too stupid to tell the difference between a curative and a vice? Here's a hint, on the tobacco label, there's generally a warning saying "Tobacco will kill you". On this zinc "medicine", there's no warning label saying "Warning: will permanently disfigure you", and the manufacturer peddles it as being both safe and effective.

Re:Pull it off the market (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369065)

For the record, I think all drug prohibition should end and I am against the "war on drugs". But I am not a wing-nut libertarian who thinks the market will adequately regulate those products. If they were not forced to by the government alcohol and tobacco companies wouldn't disclose the dangers and would make products far more dangerous than they already are.

Furthermore, alcohol does exactly what it's intended to do and when used responsibly is perfectly safe, and in certain forms and doses may even be beneficial. Also, the risks are well understood, documented, and labeled. And when discussing alcohol you can't ignore the intoxicating effects which are considered desirable by much of the population. A similar case can be made for tobacco. I don't hear anyone clamoring to lose their sense of smell permanently because they used a product they thought was safe to prevent a cold.

There are nuances to the situation that you seem reluctant to recognize.

Don't make me cry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368753)

I would hate to lose the ability to smell my wife's panties.

Question (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368759)

No sense of sight: Blind
No sense of hearing: Deaf
No sense of touch: Numb
No sense of direction: Lost :-)

No sense of smell: ???

Re:Question (2, Informative)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368781)

Anosmic

Doesn't have the simplicity of blind or deaf, I know.

Re:Question (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368823)

That's smelling impaired you insensitive clod.

Re:Question (4, Insightful)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368915)

One thing you can be sure of is that a kid with these all problems sure plays a mean pinball.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368943)

"strunk"

Re:Question (3, Funny)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369099)

No sense of taste: Zune?

These medications dont get tested by the FDA? (0, Redundant)

CountOfJesusChristo (1523057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368773)

Something about this doesn't smell right.

Only the nasal version (2, Interesting)

PoiBoy (525770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368799)

This warning only applies to the version of Zicam that you stick in your nose. When I have a cold, I use the lozenges that dissolve in your mouth, and I swear they really do help control the symptoms of a cold.

Re:Only the nasal version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368849)

Congratulations! You've discovered the placebo effect!

Re:Only the nasal version (2, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368883)

Soon you will have no sense of taste.

Not Homeopathic (5, Informative)

KeithIrwin (243301) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368811)

The odd bit of this story that no one really seems to be reporting is that this medicine, although sold under the "homeopathic" provisions of FDA regulations (and thereby bypassing the normal approval process), is not a homeopathic medicine as the term is usually used.

If you go read the wikipedia entry on Homeopathy [wikipedia.org] , you can see that the way homeopathic medicines are made involves taking a substance and then repeatedly diluting it with water, alcohol or sugar. Most homeopathic medicines are diluted repeatedly until the level of dilution is such that statistically, there is unlikely to even be a single molecule of the original substance remaining. Homeopaths consider higher levels of dilution to be more powerful. They generally believe that the water "remembers" the shape of the original substance.

The Zicam nasal spray is only diluted 100:1 (2X or 1C on homeopathic scales), meaning that it is within the range of normal dilutions used in preparing drugs for delivery, not diluted to a level used in homeopathic remedies. It's being governed by rules meant to only cover placebos, but at that concentration, it's not a placebo. It's a real drug which can have real side effects. If the rules have allowed this drug to come to market legally then those rules have a huge loophole and need to be fixed ASAP. But no one seems to be noting that.

Re:Not Homeopathic (2, Insightful)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369007)

You ninja'd my comment!

Yes, I hope that the FDA acts quickly on redefining 'Homeopathic' as dilutions over a certain level (1ppm perhpas, the chemical equivalents of 3C) before one of these companies actually kills someone directly.

Re:Not Homeopathic (4, Insightful)

fusellovirus (1386571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369195)

This is loophole that needs to be filled. a detailed discussion why is here [sciencebasedmedicine.org]

I smoke tobacco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368831)

and I can't smell shit, knowing the Obama administration I should switch to weed... oh wait! :)

Smells like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368833)

bullshit.

Eh? Homeopathic? (4, Informative)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368835)

Homeopathic quackery is infamous and justly ridiculed for the fact that its 'remedies' contain exactly no active ingredients and - unsurprisingly - also have exactly no biological effects. This zinc based stuff is obviously not homeopathic.

Better than Deoderant (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28368867)

just put some of that in the drinking water

But.... (1)

dooms13 (954485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368923)

At least I won't have a stuffy, runny nose as a result of my cold!

Better scent than anything else. (4, Interesting)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368933)

I've lost my smell to nasal polyps and chronic sinusitis years ago, it's a little disappointing sometimes but sometimes it's nice not having to smell awful things.

I've heard that when you can't smell you can't taste, which is bullshit. I can't tell the difference between some things but I do very much have a vivid sense of taste still.

And you know that "You lose one sense you gain another" thing? It doesn't work with smell.

Re:Better scent than anything else. (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369149)

I've heard that when you can't smell you can't taste, which is bullshit. I can't tell the difference between some things but I do very much have a vivid sense of taste still.

You haven't completely lost your sense of smell. You've just lost your ability to detect faint scents on the air. Putting something in your mouth, in the sense of smell, is like the difference between a misting spray-bottle and a super-soaker.

What happens when we 'taste' is that 1. the tongue senses sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and perhaps savory [wikipedia.org] ; and 2. chemicals waft up that hole in the back of the mouth to the olfactory tissue. Those two chemoreception processes taken together are what we think of as taste.

In researching this post, I also learned that Stevie Wonder can't smell [wikipedia.org] , either. Or so says wikipedia.

i can totally see this happeining (4, Funny)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368945)

husband: honey, i have a cure for those smelly farts i have
wife: thats nice dear, Beano?
husband: no, this is better just one sniff and your cured forever

Anecdotal evidence. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368951)

For what it's worth...

While I haven't used Zycam, I have, a number of times over the last few years, used zinc gluconate tablets (dissolved in the mouth and gargled up toward the nose) to try to mitigate an oncoming cold.

And I have also noticed, over that period, a significant reduction in my sense of smell (which I hadn't connected with anything and assumed might just be due to age).

Needless to say I'll be skipping the zinc treatments in the future, at least until this is resolved.

Why do people even take pharmacudical drugs? (0)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368953)

The body has phenomenal healing capabilities. They've done extensive and thorough tests on people contrasting the actual drugs and sugar pills and almost all of the participants from both groups were satisfied with the result. For the most part, it's all in your head.

Being diagnosed with an extremely rare disease named KTS (Klippel Trenaunay Syndrome) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber_syndrome [wikipedia.org] I've taken my fair share of pretty much every drug (from morphine to dilaudid). From personal experience I can tell that all it does is slightly mask the pain and make you feel like worse even worse shit when you factor in all the side-effects. Now, TFA is talking about cold meds but it's the same principal; if people expanded their horizons and stopped popping Advils or taking Zicam when they aren't feeling well and taking another root (natural medicine, anyone?), It's guaranteed society would notice a difference.

Re:Why do people even take pharmacudical drugs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369009)

I trip on acid all the time, and I sometimes think that's just in my head, too.

Re:Why do people even take pharmacudical drugs? (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369123)

That's quite anecdotal. Different people react to different medicines differently.

I know some people find relief from extreme pain only with the use of Dilaudid or similar.

Re:Why do people even take pharmacudical drugs? (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369235)

The body has phenomenal healing capabilities

Sure, except when it doesn't, or is faced with a wound or pathogen that the body simply can't handle.

if people expanded their horizons and stopped popping Advils or taking Zicam when they aren't feeling well and taking another root (natural medicine, anyone?), It's guaranteed society would notice a difference

Ah, so you know of a root that is an analgesic, or which has anti-inflammatory properties? That's nice. Can you tell how to provide exactly the right amount of that root, prepared in exactly the right and consistent way, to produce just the anti-inflammatory effect needed without also causing liver or kidney trouble, or provoking an allergic response? Really? So, can you explain to a couple hundred thousand local witch doctors exactly how to predictably prepare, store, and dispense that substance so that anyone traveling can be sure they're getting just what they know will work, no matter where they go? I see, so we need some standards for preparation and dosing, just to be safe? I know, let's call those "pharmaceuticals."

I know precisely how much Ibuprofen will relieve a handful of aches and pains that I can routinely get from certain physical activities. I can find it anywhere, and bank on the results. I'm glad that I don't have to go into an "alternative medicine" shop and get what I hope will be the right sort of powdered root extract from a guy who also promises me that ground up rhinocerous horn will improve my love life.

Zicam is not homeopathic. (4, Interesting)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368955)

Homeopathic remedies (which I prefer to call homeopathetic...), as others have stated, are diluted until there is a low to zero probability of them containing 1 molecule of substance.

This is stated to be a 1:100 dilution, which is 1% active ingredient: a significant concentration of a proven active (and detremental) ingredient.
There use of homeopathic labels (2X, which means 2 dilutions of 1: 10) was done simply to avoid FDA attention, and they are likely to get into deep trouble because of it.

Re:Zicam is not homeopathic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369239)

Homeopathic remedies (which I prefer to call homeopathetic...), as others have stated, are diluted until there is a low to zero probability of them containing 1 molecule of substance.

This is stated to be a 1:100 dilution, which is 1% active ingredient: a significant concentration of a proven active (and detremental) ingredient.
There use of homeopathic labels (2X, which means 2 dilutions of 1: 10) was done simply to avoid FDA attention, and they are likely to get into deep trouble because of it.

The homeopathetic statement just proved you're a jerk. Try to explain placebos, realize WHO is pathethic, and we'll talk.

Here's the meta-analysis (2, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368963)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10796643 [nih.gov]

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001364.

Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(3):CD001364.

Zinc for the common cold. Marshall I.

National Center of Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 0200. marshali@health.qld.gov.au

OBJECTIVES: Interest in zinc as a treatment for the common cold has grown following the recent publication of several controlled trials. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of zinc lozenges for cold symptoms.

SEARCH STRATEGY: A search was made of the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE, EMBASE and reference lists of articles. Searches were run to the end of 1997.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised double blind placebo-controlled trials of zinc for acute upper respiratory tract infection or cold.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed trial quality.

MAIN RESULTS: Seven trials involving 754 cases were included. With the exception of one study, the methodological quality was rated as medium to high. For most outcome measures different summary estimates were used across the studies to describe the duration, incidence and severity of respiratory symptoms. This limited the ability to pool results. Results from two trials (04 - Mossad; 08 - Smith) suggested zinc lozenges reduced the severity and duration of cold symptoms. However, there was significant potential for bias, and further research is required to substantiate these findings. Overall, the results suggest that treatment with zinc lozenges did not reduce the duration of cold symptoms.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Evidence of the effects of zinc lozenges for treating the common cold is inconclusive. Given the potential for treatment to produce side effects, the use of zinc lozenges to treat cold symptoms deserves further study.

(This meta-analysis was actually withdrawn, and I don't know why, maybe to evaluate more recent data.)

I *knew* it! (2, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368967)

It's much safer to stick with homeoerotic cures instead.

Re:I *knew* it! (3, Funny)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369097)

Let me guess... they're all suppositories?

Homeopathy is hogwash... (1, Redundant)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368971)

But this product has nothing to do with homeopathy. Homeopaths sell water. They don't do active ingredients.

-jcr

Re:Homeopathy is hogwash... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369213)

Well, there's always dehydration. I think they cure that one pretty nicely :)

Re:Homeopathy is hogwash... (3, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369253)

Fair enough. I will concede that homeopathic products can treat thirst. Also, if applied topically, they can provide temporary relief from dry skin.

-jcr

Over The Counter Mass Produced Drugs = Bad (1)

Ravi Jaya (1579323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28368995)

It's funny that they can market zicam as being "homeopathic". It's a total mass produced, corporate, industrially made drug and probably not good to snort up your nose. Most likely it has damaging effects to the olfactory nerves. -Ravi http://www.ravijaya.com/ [ravijaya.com]

Re:Over The Counter Mass Produced Drugs = Bad (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369011)

It's funny that they can market zicam as being "homeopathic". It's a total mass produced, corporate, industrially made drug

Agreed. It's an entirely different form of quackery.

-jcr

Re:Over The Counter Mass Produced Drugs = Bad (0, Flamebait)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369167)

It's a total mass produced, corporate, industrially made drug

Ah, so a drug made by one person is OK, then? How about two people? Ten? At which point does the number of people working in the facility that puts a given chemical into a given form change it from being Good to being Bad? Ah, I see, you're a blowhard nitwit.

Sounds familiar (0, Troll)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369031)

The Matrixx has you.

What a drag (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369047)

Life is full of wonderful smells...

I find it so strange... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28369055)

The same people who are screaming that we need the FDA to regulate this kind of thing are the same ones who doubtlessly bitch about big pharma this and big pharma that.

What's so odd, you may ask? Obviously these guys don't know the industry as the FDA is the big brother that keeps big pharma in line.

If you think the pharmaceutical industry is out of hand now wait until you give the FDA power over supplements and herbals. It'll be a fucking slaughter by the largest of pharmaceutical producers with the FDA kicking anyone back in play who doesn't have the money to buy their way into legitimacy. No one with less than a few billion on their side will ever get anything to market without the blessings of the FDA.

Think it's a joke? Than please shut the fuck up until you learn how the industry works and how the FDA makes it near impossible to get even the least effective drugs to market without putting more money into their pockets than all the Wall Street bonuses over the last decade.

Prediction (1)

Starlon (1492461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369057)

Next on the FDA's agenda: control all homeopathics. I guarantee you.

Re:Prediction (1)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369143)

True. That and "come up with more pointless neologistic terminology like 'life-dangerous' when 'life-threatening' would have done just as well"

May I propose "vivacity-hazardous" as in "Surgeon General's warning: smoking is vivacity-hazardous"

Well that stinks ... (1, Funny)

Wansu (846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369103)

Maybe they can sell Zicam to people who work around hog waste lagoons or people who pump out septic tanks.

I like homeopathy! (1)

Korbeau (913903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369109)

Diluting the problem in the solution!
The guy that thought of that was a genious.

He just had one drop of genious though, diluted in a sea of being a complete dumb-shit.

And this is bad because? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369141)

I've met some people are fans of homeopathic remedies. Losing ones sense of smell could be a good thing.

If it has anything in it that can do anything... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369157)

...it isn't homeopathic.

Loss of smell is real (1)

bshensky (110723) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369209)

I am someone who lost prolly 75% of his sense of smell over the 90s. Why, I do not know.

I do find favor with extra spicy foods, as they stimulate me in ways other foods cannot.

My wife has a hyper sense of smell. I take out the garbage.

Something fishy.... (1)

Auxis (1341693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28369215)

... is what I am smelling right now.
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