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Comment & Response |

Common Cold Treatment Using Zinc

Harri Hemilä, MD, PhD1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
JAMA. 2015;314(7):730. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8174.
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To the Editor The JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis on zinc for the common cold by Drs Das and Singh1 was a summary of their Cochrane review.2 I noticed inconsistencies in the synopsis and so attempted to replicate their data.

In the Evidence Profile section of the synopsis, the authors stated that the number of randomized clinical trials included was “14 therapeutic (lozenges: low-dose = 5, high-dose = 7, syrup = 2) … and 2 prophylactic …,” which implies that the reported findings are purely based on randomized comparisons. However, their estimate of 3.43-day shorter colds for high-dose vs low-dose zinc lozenge users appears not to be based on a comparison of randomized groups but rather on an arbitrary selection of 5 high-dose zinc groups from 7 trials compared with 5 low-dose zinc groups from different trials.


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August 18, 2015
Rashmi Ranjan Das, MD, FCCP; Meenu Singh, MD, FCCP
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. 2015;314(7):730-731. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8177.
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