The Use of Zinc for Colds: What Pharmacists Need to Know

Published Online: Thursday, November 17, 2011
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Pharmacy Times Office of Continuing Professional Education

The Use of Zinc for Colds: What Pharmacists Need to Know

Nikhil Patel, PharmD, RPh
Director, Scientific Affairs
Pharmacy Times Office of Continuing Professional Education
Plainsboro, New Jersey


The common cold places a high burden on the health care system; therefore, it is important to understand the common cold, its pathophysiology, and what treatment options are available to improve patient outcomes. Pharmacists can play a significant role in helping patients achieve relief from their symptoms and even reduce the duration of the cold. Understanding and being aware of the different zinc formulations that are currently on the market, as well as knowing which have been shown to actually be effective, can help pharmacists direct their patients in choosing the most appropriate OTC remedy. This activity provides a comprehensive review of zinc and its use in the common cold.

Educational Objectives
Upon completing the program, participants should be able to:
  1. Discuss the impact of the common cold on adults and children.
  2. Describe the pathophysiology of the rhinovirus and how zinc ions are hypothesized to interfere with the virus.
  3. Describe the evidence in support of different zinc formulations.
  4. Provide patients with counseling regarding zinc formulations to help them manage their colds.
Credits: 1.0
Expiration Date: November 15, 2013

Click here to view this activity.
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