Cold Symptoms Shortened by Zinc Lozenges

Pharmacy Times, November 2015 Cough, Cold, & Flu, Volume 81, Issue 11

The results of a recent study have affirmed the effectiveness of zinc acetate lozenges in shortening the duration of a number of common cold symptoms.

The results of a recent study have affirmed the effectiveness of zinc acetate lozenges in shortening the duration of a number of common cold symptoms. The study, published in BMC Family Practice, examined data from a previous meta-analysis of 3 randomized trials in which highdose zinc acetate lozenges were found to shorten the duration of colds by 42%. Based on the findings of the previous studies, the research team determined that the use of zinc lozenges shortened the duration of nasal discharge by 34%, nasal congestion by 37%, sneezing by 22%, scratchy throat by 33%, sore throat by 18%, hoarseness by 43%, and cough by 46%. There was also some evidence that the lozenges reduced the duration of muscle ache by 54%.

Although there was no evidence that zinc lozenges had any effect on the duration of headache and fever, these symptoms were infrequently reported in all 3 trials. Additionally, the researchers found no evidence that the lozenges have a greater effect on respiratory symptoms than on nasal symptoms.

The adverse effects associated with the use of zinc lozenges were minor, leading the study authors to conclude that “zinc acetate lozenges releasing zinc ions at doses of about 80 mg/day may be a useful treatment for the common cold, started within 24 hours, for a time period of less than 2 weeks.”