Zinc lozenges may shorten common cold duration

Depending on the total dosage of zinc and the composition of lozenges, zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40%, says Dr. Harri Hemila from the University of Helsinki.

For treating the common cold, zinc lozenges are dissolved slowly in the mouth. Interest in zinc lozenges started in the early 1980s from the serendipitous observation that a cold of a young girl with rapidly disappeared when she dissolved a therapeutic zinc tablet in her mouth instead of swallowing it. Since then over a dozen studies have been carried out to find out whether zinc lozenges are effective, but the results of those studies have diverged.

Dr. Harri Hemila of the University of Helsinki, Finland, carried out a meta-analysis of all the placebo-controlled trials that have examined the effect of zinc lozenges on natural common cold infections. Of the 13 trial comparisons identified, five used a total daily zinc dose of less than 75 mg and uniformly those five comparisons found no effect of zinc. Three trials used zinc acetate in daily doses of over 75 mg, with the average indicating a 42% reduction in the duration of colds. Five trials used other than acetate in daily doses of over 75 mg, with the average indicating a 20% decrease in the duration of colds.

In several studies, zinc lozenges caused , such as bad taste, but there is no evidence that zinc lozenges might cause long term harm. Furthermore, in the most recent trial on zinc acetate lozenges, there were no significant differences between the zinc and placebo groups in the occurrence of adverse effects although the daily dose of zinc was 92 mg. Dr. Hemila concluded that "since a large proportion of trial participants have remained without adverse effects, zinc lozenges might be useful for them as a for the common ."

Provided by University of Helsinki

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zinc lozenges may shorten common-cold duration

Jul 26, 2011

Depending on the total dosage of zinc and the composition of lozenges, zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of common cold episodes by up to 40%, according to a study published in the Open Respiratory Medicine Journal.

Zinc lozenges an ineffective treatment for colds

Aug 02, 2007

Despite 20 years of research, the benefits of zinc lozenges as a therapy for the common cold have not been proven. A new study, published in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online, review ...

Zinc reduces the burden of the common cold

Feb 16, 2011

Zinc supplements reduce the severity and duration of illness caused by the common cold, according to a systematic review published in The Cochrane Library. The findings could help reduce the amount of time lost from work a ...

Childhood diarrhea: Treat with zinc over 6 months of age

Jul 16, 2008

Zinc supplementation benefits children suffering from diarrhoea in developing countries, but only in infants over six months old, Cochrane Researchers have found. Their study supports World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines ...

Recommended for you

Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

2 hours ago

(AP)—A U.S. panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students.

New antibiotic avycaz approved

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The combination antibiotic Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with complicated infections of the intra-abdominal area or urinary tract, ...

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines

Feb 25, 2015

The U.S. and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat. But figuring out a system to track and authenticate legitimate drugs still faces significant ...

Watchdog group seeks FDA ban of antifungal tablets

Feb 24, 2015

(AP)—A consumer safety group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to pull certain antifungal tablets off the market, saying there are safer medicines that do not carry risks of liver damage.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.