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Multiple allergies to metal alloys
Mei-Eng Tu , Yu-Hung Wu
DERMATOLOGICA SINICA 29 (2011) 41-43

Background: Metals are well-known allergens that are most commonly encountered as alloys rather than
as the pure substance. However, induction of multiple metal allergies by alloys has not been widely
reported.
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of multiple metal allergies in metalallergic
patients.
Methods: From August 1996 to September 2008, 97 patients (53 females and 44 males) in whom metal
dermatitis was suspected were patch tested with the European standard series and a metal series. Age,
sex, location of skin rash, occupation, specific metal allergies, and possible sources of sensitization were
analyzed.
Results: Positive patch test reactions were seen in 55% (53 of 97) of patients, of whom 21 (40%) were
allergic to more than one metal. Nearly three-quarters were sensitized to nickel and to at least one other
metal, most commonly palladium, cobalt, or gold. Jewelry, eyeglass frames, watch straps, and buttons
were common sources of allergies to multiple metals.
Conclusions: Metal alloys may induce multiple metal allergies. Patients suspected of having a metal
allergy should be patch tested with an extended series of metals. We recommend adding palladium and
gold, at least, to the standard series.

   
   
 
 
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