Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Cochrane ENT at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences has published two systematic reviews investigating the effectiveness and safety of interventions to prevent and treat loss of smell following COVID-19 infection.

Woman smelling the scent from an open bottle

Loss of sense of smell is a frequent symptom following COVID-19 infection. Although for a significant proportion of patients, the loss is only temporary and their sense of smell recovers relatively quickly, for others, the problem can persist and can have a major impact on quality of life.

The Cochrane reviews highlight the current uncertainty about the treatments and the ways to prevent lasting problems with sense of smell after COVID-19 infection.

The first review, 'Interventions for the treatment of persistent smell disorders (olfactory dysfunction) after COVID-19 infection' involved one study with 18 people with problems with their sense of smell that started after a COVID-19 infection and lasted a least four weeks. It compared steroid tablets plus a nasal spray (consisting of a mix of steroids, decongestant and an agent that breaks down mucus) with no treatment.

Researchers at Cochrane ENT identified that the potential benefits and harms of treatments for problems with sense of smell (reduced, changed or lost sense of smell) that last weeks or months after COVID-19 are very uncertain.

The second review, 'Interventions for the prevention of persistent smell disorders (olfactory dysfunction) after COVID-19 infection', involved one study with 100 people with problems with their sense of smell that started after a COVID-19 infection and had lasted less than four weeks at the start of the study. It compared a steroid spray that goes into the nose with no treatment. Everyone taking part in the study was asked to spend a short time each day practising smelling particular scents, to try and stimulate their sense of smell to return. 

The team discovered that the potential benefits and harms of interventions to prevent problems with sense of smell (reduced, changed or lost sense of smell) that last weeks or months after COVID-19 are also very uncertain.

These are living systematic reviews, which will include new evidence as it becomes available. 

 

Similar stories

Discovered gene patterns can predict prostate cancer treatment response

Nearly 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the UK. Perhaps the most significant clinical challenge today is deciding which type of treatment will work best for different patient groups.

Regent Lee wins top UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr Regent Lee of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences is one of eight Oxford University academics who have been awarded significant financial funding from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowships Scheme.

Largest trial of carotid artery surgery and stenting finds similar long-term effects on stroke risk

Results from a major clinical trial demonstrate that both stenting and surgery are low-risk and similarly effective procedures for treating carotid artery disease.

New issue of JNDS now online

A new issue of the Journal of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (JNDS) has been published.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) for safer CT imaging of blood vessels

Congratulations to Dr Regent Lee at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) who has been awarded a grant of £246,226 from Heart Research UK for his research project ‘Using artificial intelligence (AI) for safer CT imaging of blood vessels’.

Blog posts

My virtual work experience with NDS and NDORMS

Louise Tan, a Year 12 student from Ballyclare in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, recently attended the joint NDS and NDORMS Virtual Work Experience. In this guest blog, Louise reflects on her experience.

Celebrating women of NDS

To celebrate 100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University and on the occasion of International Women's Day, a group of inspirational women in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.

The life of a research nurse: supporting the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Research nurses in the NHS are playing a crucial role in helping to trial new coronavirus treatments and vaccines. Three NDS research nurses stepped up to help with the fight against this new disease. Here Bhumika Patel shares her experience of working on the Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine Trial.

Why I became a Peer Supporter

The Peer Support Programme was developed in recognition of the essential role students play in supporting and encouraging one another on a day-to-day basis throughout their time at university. NDS’ own Helen Stark discusses her experience of becoming a Peer Supporter.

Racism under the microscope

As Black History Month gets underway in the UK, NDS Athena SWAN Coordinator Emily Hotine puts racism under the microscope.