Fact or Myth: Can Sinus Medicine Damage Your Sense of Smell?

This is a FACT.

If you use certain sinus medicine products developed by Zicam™, you could be damaging your sense of smell. Anosmia (loss of smell) has been reported in more than 100 cases of these over-the-counter (OTC) remedies. Some experienced anosmia after the first dose!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued the makers of Zicam™ a warning and has advised consumers to stop using these products immediately.

Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) said, “Loss of sense of smell is a serious risk for people who use these products for relief from cold symptoms.”

Anosmia can last a short time, such as with a cold or flu. There are also cases of tumors or polyps in the sinus cavity affecting smell. In these situations, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic or remove the obstruction, and your sense of smell may begin to return. sinus medicine

However, when the mucous membranes of the sinuses are damaged, it can become a long-term – even permanent – problem. An upper respiratory tract infection is one of the most common causes of anosmia.

Your sense of smell is more important than you may realize. Diagnosed cases have resulted in loss of appetite, weight loss, malnutrition, and even depression. People who suffer from anosmia lose the ability to pick up life-threatening scents such as smoke, gas leaks, or spoiled food.

The three Zicam™ products the FDA is warning consumers to stop using are:

  • Zicam™ Cold Remedy Nasal Gel
  • Zicam™ Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs
  • Zicam™ Cold Remedy Swabs for Children

More than 2 million Americans suffer from some degree of scent loss. Steroids, vitamins, and other prescribed drugs are commonly used to treat loss of smell but there is no cure for many patients. The scientific community is suggesting further research into holistic or alternative treatments.

Acupuncture Stimulates Healing

The answer to partial, perhaps even complete, return of your sense of smell may lie in Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA), according to Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The use of thin needles stimulates natural therapeutic responses within the body, stimulating healing.

Only small studies have been conducted to date, but scientists Julia Vent, Djin-Wue Wang, and Michael Damm with the American Academy of Otolaryngology have reason to feel hopeful. Initial results showed improvement in eight patients treated with TCA, while only two treated with traditional methods showed improvement.

In their conclusion, they stated, “The observed high response rate of about 50 percent under TCA was superior to that of vitamin B complex or that of spontaneous remission, and offers a possible new therapeutic regimen in [loss of smell].”

If you are still taking any of the sinus medicine, like the Zicam™ products listed above, stop now. If you have already experienced loss of smell after using these OTC medications, talk to your health care professional.

Losing your sense of smell without taking these sinus medicine products for longer than a few days could be a sign of another health issue and should be checked.