The 54 year-old vegetarian patient has taken oral colloidal silver for two years to stimulate his immune system. The silver intake resulted in diffuse grayish discoloration on the face. His laboratory values were in the normal range, and no internal organ disease was detected. The histology of the forehead skin confirmed the diagnosis of argyria. Argyria is a condition associated with chronic local or systemic exposure to silver-containing products. The silver is typically deposited in skin, fingernails, oral mucosa and conjunctival membranes. There is no effective treatment for this condition. With the availability of pharmacologic alternatives, physician-directed use of silver-containing products had significantly declined. We review the literature and call attention to the adverse effects and dangers of the widely used paramedicinal colloidal silver products.
ASJC Scopus subject areas