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Posted December 19, 2012

Zicam Nasal Gel Recalled Due to Potential Bacterial Contamination

On December 18, 2012, Matrixx Initiatives issued a voluntary recall of a single lot of Zicam Extreme Congestion Relief nasal gel after routine testing confirmed a sample from this lot was contaminated with Burkholderia cepacia. The affected product is labeled with lot number 2J23 and an expiration date of September 2015. It was distributed by retailers nationwide.

The bacterium Burkholderia cepacia is not thought to pose a health risk to healthy individuals. However, individuals with compromised immune systems or chronic lung conditions may be more susceptible to infection with Burkholderia cepacia, which can infect the upper airway. The bacterium is also resistant to a number of antibiotics and may be difficult to treat once an infection occurs.

Consumers should not use this product and may contact Matrixx for a full refund. No adverse events have been reported to date.

Zicam Extreme Congestion Relief nasal gel contains the decongestant oxymetazoline along with several other ingredients, such as aloe vera. It does not contain zinc, an ingredient found in some Zicam products which were previously associated with adverse side effects.

In 2009, the FDA warned consumers not to use three Zicam products after numerous consumer reports linked the use of the products to a loss of the sense of smell - a potential side effect noted in's Review of Zinc Supplements.

See's Reviews of Zinc Supplements, Echinacea Supplements, and Aloe Supplements for tests of products taken for colds and congestion. Also see the answer to the question, Do any supplements help prevent or treat a cold?.