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.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=12284219&query_hl=3&itool=pubmed_docsum
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.
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.
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