The effect of high dose zinc acetate lozenges on the duration of systemic symptoms of the common cold. In the forest plots on the right side, the vertical line indicates the placebo level. The horizontal lines indicate the 95% CI for the zinc effect and the square in the middle of the horizontal line indicates the point estimate of the effect in the particular trial. Arrows at the end of the horizontal lines indicate that the 95% CI extends out of the forest plot. The sizes of the squares indicate the relative weights of the trials. The diamond shape indicates the pooled effect on the symptoms and its 95% CI. The duration of symptoms was transformed to the relative scale, thus the duration in the respective placebo group was given the value of 100%. The difference between zinc and placebo groups thus directly indicates the effect of zinc lozenges in percentages. See Additional file 2 for the extraction of data and for the calculation of the relative mean and SD values for the duration of symptoms, and Additional file 3 for the raw data and the estimates for individual studies.