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Man Claims Remedy Killed 2 of His Senses

Jun 21, 2004 | Boulder Daily Camera

A Boulder man filed a lawsuit this week against the makers of an over-the-counter cold remedy, Zicam, saying it killed "most or all" of his senses of smell and taste.

Zicam maker Matrixx Initiatives Inc. denies that its product's primary ingredient, zinc gluconate, causes such sensory loss. Instead, the Arizona-based company blames what it says is a baseless claim by a Denver doctor and that doctor's appearance in TV news stories talking about Zicam — for unleashing a flood of lawsuits.

In his lawsuit, Jeffrey Bryant of Boulder is seeking compensation for economic losses, emotional and physical pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life and damages for physical impairment or disfiguration.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has fielded as many as three dozen complaints about Zicam in recent months, mostly following TV reports that the product allegedly has caused sensory loss, said Jason Brodsky, FDA spokesman.

"It's been well-publicized over the last several months," Brodsky said. "We're trying to determine what if any role the product has played in these events."

If it's found that the zinc gluconate in Zicam does cause loss of taste or smell, the FDA can require that the product's label be changed so that patients are aware of the risks.

Zicam is considered a homeopathic drug and doesn't require pre-market FDA approval, Brodsky said.

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