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Ineffectiveness of Zinc Gluconate Nasal Spray and Zinc Orotate Lozenges in Common-Cold Treatment: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial

George A. Eby, MS; William W. Halcomb, DO

Zinc gluconate lozenges (23 mg zinc each 2 wakeful hours) were first reported by Eby, Davis, and Halcomb to shorten common colds by 7 days.1 Side effects of zinc gluconate lozenges included unpalatable taste, strong astringent feeling in the mouth (ie,mouth-feel), mouth irritation, and taste distortion. Complaints were attributed to the zinc compound and use of the lozenge method. Other zinc lozenges have since been studied, with lozenge efficacy being found to be directly related to total daily positively charged zinc administered and unrelated to total dosage of zinc.2 However, nasal sprays seemed to the authors be a more logical means of zinc ion administration than lozenges in the treatment of common colds, as rhinovirus infections are in the nose, not the mouth. Consequently, we wanted to test zinc gluconate nasal spray as a treatment for common colds. Another potential solution to the taste problem suggested by The Makers of Kal Inc, Canoga Park, Calif, (the lozenge manufacturer) was to use zinc orotate lozenges, which had a slightly sweet, bland taste and did not cause an astringent mouth-feel.

Before this trial, one author experienced excruciating, longlasting intranasal (olfactory region) pain unresponsive to nasal irrigation and lasting more than 1 hour after administration of 150 mmol zinc gluconate solutions sprayed into the nose.

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