2:01 pm - 08/13/2006

ParaGard / Nickel connection??

I have a ParaGard IUD (inserted 8/2 by a fantastic and lovely nurse practitioner at a local clinic). I decided to get (and subsequently got) a ParaGard because I had tried everything else - had a Mirena, it caused some undesirable systemic side effects, and was pulled out by my own damn clumsy hands not breaking suction while removing my divacup. Tried NuvaRing, at least 5 kinds of combined birth control pills, progestin-only pills, and I'm allergic to latex and spermicides, so condoms and spermicical foam/jelly/film are out. ParaGard is my last-ditch effort at birth control.

I'm having vulval/vaginal itching and irritation. Sort of like yeast infection itching, but it's not a yeast infection (no discharge, no odor, no yeast detected on a wet mount slide). My fear: that ParaGard's copper wiring is somehow laced with nickel. I'm not allergic to copper (100% positive - I just had allergy testing). I am terribly, dreadfully, very much allergic to nickel. And the primary symptom of my allergy is intense itching and irritation. *gigantic sigh*

My plan is to call or email the ParaGard people tomorrow and see what their take is, but in the meantime - anybody know more than I do about the nickel content of a ParaGard? Have any wisdom to offer me?

ETA: just found http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=6153839&dopt=Abstract
http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/7/1554/5.html; bah!

EDIT, 8/14 9pm:
I called and spoke with paragard reps today, and discussed with them my findings as above, and my personal situation. I was explicitly told that the copper wiring is in fact comprised of nickel, and merely coated with copper. This information is not available anywhere in the patient prescribing information, or in the information given to care providers (I work in the clinic I got my IUD inserted at. I looked extensively). This explains the itching, and also the hives on my face, neck, and torso and the terrible horrible awful cramping even without bleeding (the medical staff at ParaGard, and my own clinician both described this as my body trying to eject the foreign allergenic item in my uterus). After much consultation and consideration, I had my IUD removed this afternoon. It's currently residing in a covered plastic cup, in my purse. I figure it'll soak in alcohol for a while, and then join the ranks of my Mirena, forming some sort of funky feminist-women's health art in a shadowbox.
I'm upset at the lack of information available about this, and upset that I now have such limited contraceptive options. It's been quite the not-positive experience.

crossposted to vaginapagina, iud_divas, birthcontrolled.
evr1bugsme 13th-Aug-2006 07:50 pm (UTC)
I don't have any answer to your question, but I think if nickel is present in the ParaGard it's a pretty startling omission! Nickel allergy is fairly common and to not point that out in the warning material (I certainly don't remember reading anything about it) is a big thing to overlook. Before I got the ParaGard my mom actually asked me about allergies, since I always had a hard time with metals in earrings and such, and I said no way, it's not in the insert, it just talks about copper! I really hope that is actually the case.

Good luck and please post the company's reply, if there is nickel and they aren't saying anything, we should definitely start writing in and bugging them about it! Hopefully the irritation is some sort of temporary adjustment or something and not a permanent problem.
jennifer0246 13th-Aug-2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
absolutley! that's my feeling as well - if there's nickel in there, and they didn't tell me, MAN am i going to be annoyed! i will totally come back and edit this post when/if i get an answer from them, and i'll comment back here so you can see it as well.
jennifer0246 13th-Aug-2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
see my edit - i found a pubmed article.
evr1bugsme 14th-Aug-2006 12:32 am (UTC)
"Traces of nickel in the copper wire used in IUDs often induce an allergic reaction."

How can that not be included in the insert!? Wow! Thanks for the update and pointing that out, definitely an important point to alert people to.
jennifer0246 14th-Aug-2006 12:57 am (UTC)
i know! i was pretty floored. i still haven't heard back from the paragard people (it is sunday after all), but i'm pretty upset - it's definitely looking like this isn't going to work in the long term, and that puts me back at square one - very few contraceptive options :(
frolicnaked 14th-Aug-2006 03:20 am (UTC)
We will start a club.
mmmmhmmm 14th-Aug-2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
The one article is from almost 30 years ago, though! Mightn't the composition of the IUD changed since then?
evr1bugsme 15th-Aug-2006 12:04 am (UTC)
Oh, good point, hopefully ParaGard will respond with helpful information. From what I read, nickel is a pretty common allergen and it seems like they'd be getting a lot of complaints about it if it is present. Or maybe it's just trace amounts don't bother most people?

Whatever the case, it'll be nice to get definitive info from the ParaGard peeps.
jennifer0246 15th-Aug-2006 01:11 am (UTC)
see edit to post.
evr1bugsme 15th-Aug-2006 01:29 am (UTC)
!!! Wow. I'm sorry you found out this apparently quite buried detail the hard way and are now left with few contraceptive choices. I can't believe they don't even tell clinicians! What if someone was deathly allergic to nickel? I don't know if that's possible, but why so knowingly put people at risk for at the very least, extreme discomfort?

Wow. I will definitely be writing a letter. They seem to mention every random possible reaction in the patient inserts; it's pretty unsettling that they could get away with not mentioning such a painful and possibly fairly common reaction.
jennifer0246 15th-Aug-2006 01:10 am (UTC)
decidedly not, unfortunately. i will edit my post to update, but i spoke with paragard reps today, and with my clinician - the copper wiring is laced with nickel (or rather, it's nickel laced with copper) and thus i had my IUD removed this afternoon.
violet_tigress1 14th-Aug-2006 06:34 am (UTC)
I don't have any answer to your question, but I think if nickel is present in the ParaGard it's a pretty startling omission!

That's how I feel about lubricated condoms.
evr1bugsme 15th-Aug-2006 12:05 am (UTC)
What is the issue with lubricated condoms? Do they sometimes have nonoxyl-9 and not mention it or something?
violet_tigress1 15th-Aug-2006 01:26 am (UTC)
I am one of the lucky few that are sensitive to glycerine. I also have the same issues with propylene glycol. Lubricated condoms tell yoou wen they have spermicide on them, but nothing else.
(no subject) - Anonymous
violet_tigress1 15th-Aug-2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
Please DON't use condoms lubricated with non-9, it burns. Condoms are generally lubricated with a silicon based lube, or so I've heard. That in itself should cause no reaction but they never list what they add to the lube. In my research, I wrote to Church&Dwight (Trojens) & they said that they use propylene glycol. I also wrote tto David Meyer of Meyer labs & he thinks Kimono brand woould be safe. Most are lubed with silicon based lube, except a few varieties that specifically say they use Aqualube. Sometimesit's just not using enough llube that causes yyeasties. Good luck!
violet_tigress1 15th-Aug-2006 05:09 pm (UTC)
Oh I forgot! If you aren't constantly getting YI on the pill, you probably aren't sensitve to glycerine. What I read says that only %10 of women are.
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