Does Zicam Work?


Quick Answer

Zicam works by directly shrinking the blood vessels in the nose and nasal passages, according to Drugs.com. Zicam contains the active ingredient oxymetazoline in a nasal spray or nasal drops for direct application in the nostril to constrict blood vessels and shrink tissues for fast relief from nasal congestion.

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Full Answer

Drugs.com states that Zicam is recommended for treating nasal congestion caused by the common cold or allergies. These types of congestion are associated with widening of the nasal blood vessels. When the oxymetazoline constricts the vessels, the patient experiences relief. Oxymetazoline provides only temporary relief of symptoms. It is important to treat the underlying causes of the nasal congestion if possible. The medication in Zicam is also found in many other over-the-counter nasal decongestants and sinus relief medications.

Zicam should be discontinued if the patient's symptoms worsen or do not improve over time, or if the medication causes stinging or burning in the nose after application. Also, patients with heart conditions, diabetes, thyroid disorders, prostate problems, or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk to a doctor or pharmacist before taking Zicam. Common side effects include a mild burning sensation upon application, sneezing and a runny nose.

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