Medicines That Can Cause Loss of Smell

Our sense of smell is one of the most underrated senses. It allows us to distinguish good food from bad food, and it is essential for our survival, as it enables us to identify toxicity in the environment or infections within our bodies. Moreover, the sense of smell is heavily linked with memory. While it is common to lose our ability to smell in certain conditions like cold, our sense of smell can also be altered because of certain medications.

Medicines causing loss of smell cover


Amlodipine smell

Originally, this medicine was only sold by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company, because of their patent on the medicine; however, after 2007, when the said patent expired, generic brands started producing their own amlodipine as well. It was first approved for medical use in 1990, and presently, it is enlisted as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. Moreover, in 2019, with over 73 million users, it became the sixth most used prescription drug in the United States. It is a calcium channel blocker, and it is prescribed to patients suffering from high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Interestingly, it is not used in heart failure. It is administered orally and its effects last for a day. Unfortunately, this medicine also has a long list of side effects that include swelling, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, hypotension, liver toxicity, and an altered sense of smell.

Brand Name: Norvasc


Azelastine smell

Although it is an antihistamine, it is largely used as a nasal spray and as eye drops. Interestingly, it is one of the most common compounds that is used in nasal sprays. Azelastine is prescribed to people that may be experiencing hay fever and allergic conjunctivitis. It takes anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to start acting; however, its effects last for 12 hours. This medicine works by blocking histamines, which are the body’s natural response to allergens. As for the side effects, it can induce headaches and insomnia. When it is administered nasally, it can cause burning in the nostrils and a lack of smell.

Brand Name: Optivar


Benazepril smell

The angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for the tightening of blood vessels, and benazepril works by inhibiting this enzyme, resulting in relaxed blood vessels. It is used in the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetic kidney disease. Benazepril is mostly administered orally and many combinations of this medicine are available in the market. Since it relaxes the blood vessels, conditions like light-headedness, low blood pressure, kidney problems, and angioedema are experienced as side effects. Although losing the sense of smell is rare with benazepril, it can occur.

Brand Name: Lotensin


Eplerenone smell

Eplerenone is primarily used in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions like chronic heart failure and high blood pressure in patients with resistant hypertension, a condition in which high blood pressure doesn’t react well to aggressive medicines. It works by blocking aldosterone, it is a steroidal hormone that conserves sodium in kidneys, colon, salivary glands, and sweat glands. Interestingly, as the aldosterone is blocked, the blood pressures starts to drop and the retained fluid surrounding the heart is also reduced. Despite its benefits, it can cause hypotension, dizziness, reduction in renal clearance, impotence, and lack of smell.

Brand Name: Inspra


Olmesartan smell

Olmesartan was first used medically in 2002, and it is used as an initial medicine for the treatment of high blood pressure, heart failure, and diabetic kidney disease. It works by lowering blood pressure. Some of the frequent side effects of this medicine include low blood pressure, angioedema, and altered smell.

Brand Name: Benicar


Penicillin smell

The first-ever antibiotic is also linked with anosmia. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. It works by stopping the bacterial cell walls from synthesis. As bacteria need cell walls to protect themselves from the environment, they quickly begin bursting without them. While penicillin played a huge role in the previous century, it causes a lot of side effects as well, such as diarrhea, hypersensitivity, nausea, and rash. It is also observed that patients with viral respiratory infections also ended up losing their sense of smell.

Brand Name: Penicillin VK


Quinapril smell

Quinapril is also an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor similar to benazepril, and it causes blood vessels to relax, providing relief in high blood pressure and heart failure. It is also known to interfere with an individual’s sense of smell.

Brand Name: Accupril


Terbinafine smell

Experiencing difficulty in smelling while taking terbinafine is common. It is used in the treatment of various fungal infections such as Pityriasis Versicolor, fungal nail infection, and ringworm. It works by targeting and killing the fungus that causes an infection. Moreover, it is on the list of the World Health Organization’s essential medicines. Besides the altered smell, it can cause dizziness, rash, cough, and headache.

Brand Name: Lamasil

Zinc Gluconate

Zinc Gluconate smell

Gluconic acid is a naturally occurring substance; however, it is also commercially produced by fermenting glucose. Zinc salts of gluconic acid are known as zinc gluconate. It is commonly prescribed as a treatment for cold, and it works by stopping rhinovirus, the most common form of virus, from multiplying. Anosmia is one of the most frequently experienced adverse effects of zinc gluconate.

Brand Name: Orazinc


Zopiclone smell

Zopiclone is a psychoactive drug that is often prescribed to people suffering from insomnia or general sleeplessness. One of the naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that produces a calming effect is known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and zopiclone boosts the production of GABA to induce sleep. Interestingly, it is a controlled substance in countries like the United States, Japan, Brazil, and some European countries. Zopiclone is known to alter taste and smell, along with inducing vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion.

Brand Name: Zimovane

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