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Ann Allergy. 1978 Sep;41(3):194.

Intrauterine copper contraceptive devices and allergy to copper and nickel.



Allergic reactions to copper IUDs and contact dermatitis to copper sulfate are uncommon. We tested for allergy to copper by patch tests in 69 women who were using copper IUDs and 50 young women who did not use any IUD. In these 119 women we have also tested to nickel. Patch tests were performed with a 5% solution of copper sulfate and with a 10% glycerol solution of nickel sulfate. The tests were read immediately after removal of the patches after 48 hours of application. 1 (1.49%) positive test to copper and 4 (5.8%), positive tests to nickel resulted in the 69 women with copper IUDs. 4 (8%) of the 50 women without IUDs had a positive reaction to nickel. (Results are presented in a table.) The 1 positive test to copper was observed in a woman with known previous allergy to copper. She developed generalized dermatitis 8 days after placing the IUd (TCU-200). Replacement by Lippes loop (no copper involved) resulted in rapid and definitive improvement. In contrast, a positive patch test to nickel appeared in 8 of the 199 women (6.7%). This reflects the index of sensitivity to nickel in an unselected group of women and differs from that (13.1%) reported by Baer and Ramsey in a group of patients suffering from skin diseases. Although in themselves copper IUDs do not appear to produce allergic sensitization, one should inquire if there has been a previous allergy to copper before inserting a copper IUD to avoid a recurrence of the previous sensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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