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Zicam Lawsuit

Zicam Maker Settles Lawsuit Over Users' Loss Of Smell
300 People Claim Nasal Spray Causes Loss Of Taste, Smell

January 23, 2006: A corporation that was the subject of a 7NEWS investigation has agreed to settle a massive lawsuit.

Matrixx Corp. makes the cold remedy Zicam. In 2004, 7NEWS Investigators revealed that some people who used Zicam's zinc nasal spray lost their sense of smell and taste.

On Friday, Matrixx agreed to pay $12 million in settlement awards and other charges to the 300 people who were part of a class-action lawsuit. Matrixx said that will cover about 90 percent of the outstanding claims.

Millions of people have used the nasal spray containing zinc gluconate, and most have not had any problems. However, 7NEWS found that hundreds of people who have used the product also felt an intense burning sensation in their nose, and subsequently lost their sense of smell.

At the University of Colorado Taste and Smell Clinic, Dr. Bruce Jafek continues to hear from patients who claim zinc gluconate has robbed them of their sense of smell.

Jafek said that he began hearing complaints about the Zicam nasal spray about five years ago. In 2003, Jafek's colleague, Dr. Miriam Linschoten, began testing patients who had used the Zicam nasal spray and suffered permanent loss of smell.

The maker of Zicam, Matrixx Corp., denied the product had anything to do with the consumer complaints.

But now, with the settlement, "it would seem the company finally realizes they have a problem with their product," Jafek said.

Jafek said, unfortunately, that means most patients who have experienced smell loss are not going to get it back.

"Approximately 25 to 30 percent have had some return of their sense of smell but that means however 60 to 70 percent have had no return of function," Jafek said. "In my opnion, the product is dangerous in putting zinc ions into the nose ... If a person wishes to continue to use this product certainly they should be warned that they could lose their sense of smell. It's an uncommon problem but for the person who lose their sense of smell, it's devastating."

Matrixx Corp. has claimed correctly that, of the tens of millions of doses of the zinc product used, there is a only small percentage of complaints. While not admitting any fault, the company is paying $12 million to settle the claims.

And because the zinc nasal spray is so profitable, there is no indication Matrixx will take it off the market. So as Jafek says, "buyer beware."

If you have had problems with the nasal zinc products, the FDA wants to hear from you. You can call toll-free (888) INFO-FDA or (888) 463-6332 or fill out a special form on the FDA's Web site.

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» April 12, 2004- "Zinc Nasal Spray May Kill Your Sense of Smell- But Pepper Could be the Cure"
» April 29, 2004- "Legal Action, new product discussed by Matrixx"
» April 29, 2004- "Popular Cold Remedy Has Unexpected Side Effects"
» February 10, 2004- "Chef Claims Cold-Eeze Spray Killed Her Sense of Smell"
» February 10, 2004- "FDA Investigates Nasal Zinc Products"
» February 27, 2004- "Doctor Says Product Ingredient Kills Cell Receptors"
» February 6, 2004- "Such a Loss, Is Cold Medicine Zapping Sense of Smell?"
» February 6, 2004- "User Says Zicam Robbed Her of Sense of Smell"
» March 2, 2004- "A popular cold medicine is the focus of a lawsuit filed by a West Hartford woman"
» March 24, 2004- "Zicam, Cold-Eeze safety comes under scrutiny"
» March 25, 2004- "Over the counter cold spray controversy"
» March 30, 2004- "Zinc for colds losing its luster, Users of some products reporting loss of smell and taste"
» March 4, 2004- "Zicam Admits No Studies Done on Loss of Smell"

Zicam Maker Settles $12,000,000.00 Lawsuit Over Users' Loss Of Smell

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