Zinc Salts

What is the medicine Zinc Salts

Zinc is a trace element. Zinc is distributed throughout the plant and animal kingdoms, second in abundance only to iron.

As a trace element, zinc is essential for biologic functions and, in animals, is important in growth, appetite, testicular maturation, skin integrity, mental activity, wound healing, and immunocompetence.

Zinc deficiency, first identified clinically in 1963 in young males in Iran and Egypt, is associated with diets high in unrefined cereal and unleavened bread, total parenteral nutrition (TPN), intestinal disease (i.e., Crohn’s disease, pancreatic insufficiency), alcoholism, pregnancy, or in acrodermatitis enteropathica, an autosomal recessive disease characterized by zinc malabsorption.

Commercially available zinc salts include zinc acetate, zinc chloride, zinc gluconate, zinc oxide, and zinc sulfate. Zinc sulfate, administered orally or parenterally, is the most common form of zinc used when a nutritional supplement is needed; it is the salt found in zinc-containing multivitamin preparation.

Zinc sulfate is also used as an ophthalmic solution for mild ocular irritation. Zinc chloride is sometimes also used for IV nutritional supplementation; oral administration of zinc chloride is associated with significant nausea.

Zinc lozenges and zinc nasal spray are purported to treat symptoms of the common cold; however, in June 2009, the FDA issued a MedWatch alert advising patients and health care professionals to discontinue use of Zicam intranasal products due to more than 130 reports of loss of sense of smell (anosmia) which may be permanent or long-lasting.

Zinc oxide is a mild astringent with weak antiseptic properties and is applied topically as a sunblocking agent and to treat dermatologic conditions such as abrasions, burns, chafing, diaper rash, and minor skin irritations. Additionally, the antifungal compound zinc undecylenate and the antibacterial agent bacitracin zinc contain zinc as an astringent.

Zinc is also used to stabilize insulin preparations such as protamine insulin. Zinc acetate is used topically as a non-prescription agent to treat poison ivy and related Rhus dermatitis.

Most recently, oral zinc acetate (Galzin) was granted FDA approval on January 29, 1997 for the oral treatment of Wilson’s disease (hepatolenticular degeneration) and is the only prescription-only zinc product.

Indications & Dosage

  • common cold
  • nutritional supplementation
  • ocular inflammation
  • Rhus dermatitis
  • Wilson’s disease
  • zinc deficiency

Side Effects

  1. abdominal pain
  2. anosmia
  3. dysosmia
  4. dyspepsia
  5. hypocupremia
  6. leukopenia
  7. nausea
  8. neutropenia
  9. sideroblastic anemia
  10. vomiting

Monitoring Parameters

  • CBC


  • breast-feeding
  • hypocupremia
  • neonates
  • pregnancy
  • premature neonates
  • renal failure
  • renal impairment


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