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JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis
April 9, 2014

Oral Zinc for the Common Cold

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, India
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
JAMA. 2014;311(14):1440-1441. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1404

Clinical Question  Is oral zinc associated with a shorter duration, decreased severity, and reduced incidence of the common cold compared with placebo ?

Bottom Line  When initiated within 24 hours of symptom onset, oral zinc is associated with a shorter duration of the common cold in healthy people. However, there is no association between oral zinc and symptom severity, and the prevalence of adverse effects with zinc lozenges is high. Given the high heterogeneity of data, these results should be interpreted with caution. Used prophylactically, oral zinc is associated with a reduced cold incidence in children. Prophylactic use has not been studied in adults.

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