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Zinc acetate lozenges reduced the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold

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 QUESTION: In patients with a common cold, do zinc acetate lozenges reduce the duration and severity of symptoms?


Randomised (allocation concealed*), blinded (patients and outcome assessors),* placebo controlled trial with 12 days follow up.


Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA.


50 volunteers (mean age 37 y, 63% men) who were recruited within 24 hours of developing symptoms of the common cold and had ≥2 of the following 10 symptoms: cough, headache, hoarseness, muscle ache, nasal drainage, nasal congestion, scratchy throat, sore throat, sneezing, or fever. Exclusion criteria were pregnancy, immunodeficiency disorder, chronic illness, or previous use of zinc lozenges to treat the common cold. 48 patients (96%) completed the trial.


25 patients were allocated to …

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  • Source of funding: in part, the George and Patsy Eby Research Foundation.

  • For correspondence: Dr A S Prasad, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Wayne State University, University Health Center 5-C, 4201 St Antoine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA. Fax + 1 313 745 4440.

  • * See glossary.