View Full Version : Zicam
09-15-2008, 10:52 AM
I have recently discovered this medicine, Zicam, that is supposed to reduce the length and severity of a common cold by 75%.
Has anyone tried it? What luck? Does it matter what form you take of it (it has nose spray, gel tabs, etc).
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09-15-2008, 11:12 AM
Zicam in all its forms contains zinc gluconate as its active ingredient. There's a few generally supportive (http://www.uspharmacist.com/oldformat.asp?url=newlook/files/alte/feat2.htm) studies suggesting that zinc can effectively reduce cold symptoms and duration, if taken and dosed properly.
In my experience, it seems to help. I keep a bottle of (pretty nasty) Trader Joe's zinc lozenges and use them liberally at the first hint of a sniffle. In my experience products like Zicam tend to cost a lot more and give less zinc than just chompin' on the stuff.
ETA: Many of their Zicam's products also contain vitamin C, commonly touted as a coldbuster when consumed at superdose levels, but this has been pretty conclusively debunked (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20050628/vitamin-c-may-not-fight-common-cold).
09-15-2008, 11:30 AM
Don't know whether it's effective or not, but in any case, I'd stay away from the nasal spray form. Some people are claiming that it has permanently damaged their sense of smell.
09-15-2008, 01:18 PM
I won't buy it due simply to their sneaky marketing.
They thought that zinc might be effective in reducing cold symptoms or shortening the duration of colds. However, FDA trials to bring a remedy to market are long and costly, so the creators of Zicam took advantage of the US exemption of homeopathic products from FDA oversight.
They did the end-run: they had the keepers of the homeopathic pharmacopiea (sp?) first show that zinc, in high doses, causes cold symptoms. That's right - causes (the homeopathic Law of Similars). They then accepted zinc into their homeopathic catalog, which cuts the FDA out of the picture. The Zicam people then created the product that's an emulsion with 1% zinc, and call that a "2X" homeopathic dilution.
This let them bring the product to market without all those pesky details about showing that it's safe and effective. Next, they wanted to claim that it actually reduces the symptoms, which homeopathic remedies are not allowed to do without further evidence. So they commissioned a smallish study which (surprise, surprise) showed that Zicam helped cold symptoms. The study AFAIK has not been replicated.
Does it really work? I don't think that study is enough to conclude that it does, or that it doesn't. But I'm so put off by their dishonest way of bringing this product to market that I'll never buy it.
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