Zicam is an over-the-counter cold remedy that once relied heavily on zinc. Marketed as a homeopathic remedy in nasal spray form, Zicam is not an approved over-the-counter drug. Nonetheless, it was a popular remedy for the common cold until reports emerged that Zicam was causing users to lose their senses of smell, triggering lawsuits from Missouri Drug Recall Lawyers and others. Its manufacturer, Matrixx Initiatives, settled hundreds of lawsuits in 2006 from people who said they permanently lost their senses of smell from using Zicam. In 2009, Matrixx bowed to FDA pressure and recalled the implicated products, which were later reformulated.
Some research shows that zinc, a chemical element and nutrient, may help shorten the common cold. The original formulation of Zicam used zinc to fight colds. However, research dating back decades has linked nasal administration of zinc to the loss of the sense of smell, medically known as anosmia. This may be caused by damage to the olfactory receptor neurons from constricted blood vessels. Losing the sense of smell can change patients’ lives. Because smell is closely connected to taste, many of these patients have a diminished ability to enjoy food. Losing smell can also hurt with numerous daily tasks, including detecting danger, and could affect smell-linked memory.
In 2009, the FDA issued a warning to consumers advising them not to use certain Zicam products at all, due to the risk of losing their ability to smell. In its release, the agency said it had received more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell from Zicam users. It also found that Matrixx, the manufacturer, had received more than 800 such reports without turning them over to the FDA as required. The agency sent a warning letter to Matrixx saying the products should not be marketed without FDA approval, but the company refused to recall the products for about a month &mdash: and the FDA did not have authority to require recalls. Zicam generated $40 million in sales for Matrixx in 2008.
Since settling the lawsuits in 2006, Matrixx has faced hundreds more from people who allege they lost their senses of smell. Some say the loss arose after repeated use, but others said they noticed it after just one use. Patients who believe they have suffered anosmia after using Zicam have a legal right to hold Matrixx responsible. There’s ample evidence that Matrixx knew or should have known about the risk, including science dating back decades as well as the hundreds of reports it allegedly received from customers. Nonetheless, it appears to have not only failed to warn patients, but actively taken steps to downplay or cover up the risk &mdash: including refusing to recall Zicam when the FDA requested it. This makes the manufacturer legally liable in claims by Misosuri Zicam lawyers alleging failure to warn patients about the risk of anosmia.
If you believe you lost your ability to smell from using Zicam, you should call E. Ryan Bradley today to discuss how we can help. Our Missouri Zicam lawyers focus our practice on helping people who have suffered serious injuries or a death in the family from using an unsafe or defective drug. Legally speaking, failure to warn patients about a safety risk is a kind of product defect, and it’s a very serious one. Patients often believe a drug wouldn’t be sold if it weren’t safe to use &mdash: but sometimes, manufacturers put profits ahead of their customers’ best interests. Patients hurt by Zicam or another defective medication can sue to recover all of the financial costs of their injuries, including past and future medical costs, as well as compensation for their permanent injuries, pain and suffering and more.
E. Ryan Bradley offers free, confidential case evaluations, so don’t hesitate to call us to discuss how we can help. You can reach us online or call 314-400-0000.