Zap the Common Cold Three Days Sooner with Zinc Lozenges

Most of us would do just about anything to get rid of a pesky cold, but new research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that zinc acetate lozenges could cut the duration.

Most of us would do just about anything to get rid of a pesky cold, but new research published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that zinc acetate lozenges could cut the duration.

A collaborative team of researchers worked to find how the lozenges impacted allergy status and other cold characteristics. They did this by enrolling 199 patients with the common cold in three placebo-controlled trials. Most of the participants were female, 80% were 20 to 50 years old, and one-third had allergies.

The three trials revealed an average cold duration of seven days. Results from the first stage meta-analysis and second stage meta-analysis showed that zinc acetate lozenges reduced the cold duration by 2.73 and 2.94 days, respectively.

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“One study indicated that zinc lozenges might be more effective for common cold patients with allergies, but we showed that the efficacy is the same for those with and without allergies,” lead author Harri Hemila, MD, PhD, from the University of Helsinki in Finland, said in a news release.

Age, sex, ethnic group, smoking status, and symptom severity did not affect the lozenges’ impact on patients. These findings can be applied to a wide range of patients since outcomes were similar between subgroups. However, the frequency of lozenge usage still needs to be explored further.

“Common cold patients should be encouraged to try zinc acetate lozenges not exceeding 100 mg of elemental zinc per day for treating their colds,” Hemila concluded.

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