Zinc Acetate Lozenges and Mononucleosis
Continuous use of zinc acetate lozenges while awake as treatment for severe tonsillitis caused by Epstein Barr virus as mononucleosis in a 17-year old girl produced rapid (a) reduction in oral and nasopharyngeal inflammation; (b) elimination of bilateral shaggy gray tonsillar exudate; (c) elimination of fever; (d) improvement in patient's feeling of well-being; (e) elimination of supraorbital edema; (f) elimination of malaise, and fatigue; (g) return to normal vocalization; (h) elimination of anorexia; and (i) atrophy of extremely swollen tonsils to less than normal size. All benefits occurred within 1 to 3 days of treatment initiation.
After the first lozenge, the patient resolutely and continuously used zinc acetate lozenge treatment, refusing codeine, ibuprofen, and lidocaine. Corticosteriods for severe airway obstruction were not given in preference to the beneficial effects reported from zinc acetate lozenges. Antibiotic for concurrent strep throat was continued for the normal course. Splenomegaly, lymphadenophy, hepatomegaly and other complications did not occur. No side effects to treatment nor recurrence of diseases occurred. The patient was able to return to school on the fourth day after diagnosis (which occurred on the 4th day of illness) and was sufficiently well to resume athletic activities on the fourteenth day after diagnosis. This anecdote should stimulate others to investigate the antiviral properties of Zn2+ ion from zinc acetate solutions (1 to 5mmol) against Epstein Barr virus and to conduct clinical trials of the effects of zinc acetate lozenges in treatment of mononucleosis.
Because zinc acetate releases Zn2+ ions at physiological pH which are antiviral to several herpes simplex viruses (see Chapter 2 from Handbook for Curing the Common Cold - The Zinc Lozenge Story), Zn2+ ions also may be antiviral to the Epstein Barr virus, another member of the herpes family. However a thorough literature search revealed no evidence of anti-Epstein-Barr activity by Zn2+ ions in 1994.
If Zn2+ ions are antiviral to Epstein-Barr viruses, zinc acetate lozenge treatment of mononucleosis might prevent Burkitt's lymphoma. Burkitt's lymphoma is associated with Epstein-Barr virus in Africa, Turkey, and other locations where dietary zinc is often inadequate, but rarely in countries such as the United States where zinc nutrition is normally adequate. As Burkitt's lymphoma is a serious and difficult-to-treat disease, immediate investigation of the effects of zinc acetate lozenges in preventing Burkitt's lymphoma through treatment of mononucleosis is warranted. Of related interest, Ananda S. Prasad, MD, and others have shown that head and neck cancer patients with the highest zinc serum concentration have the best recovery.