Adverse Side Effects Include Loss Of Sense Of Smell And Taste
In 2006, Matrixx Initiatives, the makers of a full line of products that they claim relieve the unpleasant and painful symptoms of the common cold and flu, were ordered to pay about $12 million dollars in damages to recompense victims of a Zicam injury in an Arizona class action lawsuit against the manufacturer. Almost three years later, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter of warning, informing the manufacturer that the federal government had received complaints of debilitating, and sometimes life-threatening, side effects related to anosmia (or a loss of smell). In over 130 confirmed cases of which the administration was aware, ingredients such as the troubling zinc gluconate included in the nasal spray products were damaging olfactory tissues in the nose.
Although the company maintains that their products are completely safe, and are even beneficial to users, the warning letter from the FDA outlining the dangerous prevalence of Zicam injury led them to voluntarily recall each of the products listed in the warning letter.
- Cold Remedy Nasal Gel (15mL, NDC 62750-003-10)
- Cold Remedy Swabs (20 swabs, NDC 67250-003-20)
- Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size (20 swabs, NDC 67250-003-21)
The recall of the three items from shelves cost them millions of dollars and drove their stock price down significantly.
The most typical Zicam injury is losing the sense of smell. However, the issues resulting from using the product can also include losing the sense of taste, since the two are so closely related. In some cases, continued use of the faulty product led to a mild loss of either sense. In other victims, loss of smell was immediate and complete.
According to some of the leading scientific research, this happens because zinc in the product interacts with the olfactory tissue in the nose. Once the chemical contacts with the sensitive area, chemical Zicam injury damage occurs that does not allow sense receptors to work correctly.
Because many of them will never regain their lost sense, victims want more than a recall, and have filed lawsuits in several states, stating that the resulting anosmia has not only diminished their quality of life, but puts them in potentially dangerous situations. Take, for instance, someone in a home or apartment that develops a natural gas leak. While most people would vacate immediately after smelling gas, without that sense, this is impossible. Even if fumes in the house do not cause a fire or explosion, prolonged natural gas exposure can lead to other health problems, such as:
If you feel that you are exhibiting any of the symptoms or ailments described above, and have recently taken any nasal spray cold and flu remedies that were mentioned, contact your health care professional immediately. If your doctor or physician positively diagnoses you with anosmia, contact an injury lawyer immediately.
It does not matter if the symptoms are temporary or permanent. All that matters is that you get in touch with someone as soon as possible, so you can be sure to secure any recompense that you may be owed.