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Jewish Journal

The Smell of Quackery

by Albert Fuchs, M.D.

June 24, 2009 | 3:04 pm

I’ll post the last part of The Healthcare Meltdown later this week, but meanwhile a quick post that deserves your attention.

What’s worse than a product that has never been shown to have any benefit whatsoever?  A product that has never been shown to have any benefit whatsoever and has serious side-effects.

Last week the FDA warned that Zicam zinc-containing nasal cold-remedies have been implicated in over 130 cases of long lasting or permanent loss of smell.  (Here’s a fun new word for you.  Anosmia is the medical term for the absence of the sense of smell.)  The FDA makes the point that the sense of smell is important for smelling smoke, a gas leak or spoiled food.  This is true.  The sense of smell is also critical for smelling a rose by any other name, smelling napalm in the morning, and sorting out who dealt it.

So please throw out your Zicam.  Remember, no medicine or supplement has been shown to decrease the duration of the common cold.  Sometimes the truth stinks.

Learn more:

FDA alert:  Loss of Sense of Smell with Intranasal Cold Remedies Containing Zinc

My post about zinc for the common cold:  Zinc Unproven in Treating Common Cold

Important legal mumbo jumbo:
Anything you read on the web should be used to supplement, not replace, your doctor’s advice.  Anything that I write is no exception.  I’m a doctor, but I’m not your doctor despite the fact that you read or comment on my posts.  Leaving a comment on a post is a wonderful way to enter into a discussion with other readers, but I will not respond to comments (just because of time constraints).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Practicing internal medicine in Beverly Hills since 2000, Dr. Fuchs brags that his practice is “tiny and meant to stay that way.” He has blogged for the past three years...

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