Antibiotics Containing Nickel
February 14, 2015 4:19 AM   Subscribe

I have what I believe is a nickel allergy (earrings cause my pierced ears to "weep"). I've read that some antibiotics contain nickel, and I'd like to avoid those. But I'm having difficulty finding out which antibiotics contain nickel.
posted by dancing leaves to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A skin allergy to nickel doesn't necessarily mean that there is a problem ingesting nickel. IAMNYD.
posted by parki at 6:03 AM on February 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

This seems like a situation where you talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your concerns, and they either reassure you that it is not a problem or adjust your prescription accordingly.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:18 AM on February 14, 2015 [9 favorites]

Are you currently taking any antibiotics? Because if not, then yeah, hydropsyche has it: if & when you are prescribed any antibiotics, that's when you'll need to discuss it with your doctor and pharmacist.

Also, on the 'weeping' pierced ears: is this happening with holes that were just pierced, or holes that have been in your ears for a while? For new piercings, I'd see a doctor to check if those new piercings were infected; for old piercings, try leaving out any new earrings and only wear your old ones for a while --- that'll tell you if it's just a problem with a new pair of earrings or not.
posted by easily confused at 6:28 AM on February 14, 2015

Another important point: Just because you are allergic to metallic nickel doesn't mean that you are allergic to the nickel compounds that might be in antibiotics. If allergies worked that way, then being allergic to any organic compound would mean you were allergic to every organic compound, because they're all composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
posted by firechicago at 6:39 AM on February 14, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm severely allergic to nickel, it's in my chart, and I've never had a problem with antibiotics or had any prescribing doctor raise an eyebrow.

Also, weeping ears might mean you're allergic to nickel or it might mean you have an infection or wear crappy jewelry or you're allergic to your shampoo or whatever. Get a patch test if you're concerned about allergic dermatitis.
posted by lydhre at 6:42 AM on February 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding hydropsyche and lydhre, the best way to be safe is to discuss it when you see your doctor or get tested. For additional anecdata: I'm very allergic to nickel jewellery and have gotten huge welts on my neck from earrings, but I'm not allergic to any antibiotics or other medication.
posted by carbide at 7:30 AM on February 14, 2015

Having worked with both doctors and pharmacists, I think that they are unlikely to know–off the top of their head–whether a given antibiotic contains nickel or not. I think you're right to do your own research. Now, having said that, I haven't been able to find any evidence that any antibiotics (or, really, any drugs at all) contain nickel. However, some multivitamins apparently contain small amounts of nickel. This blog, which is all about nickel allergies, doesn't say anything about antibiotics.

In your post, you wrote: "I've read that some antibiotics contain nickel". Can you provide the specific source that you read?
posted by alex1965 at 7:50 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you mean that some antibiotic molecules contain atoms of nickel? It's hard to imagine how this would affect you even if you did have an allergy to metallic nickel. Or do you mean that some antibiotic medications contain nickel in the formulation (presumably as a filler or preservative)? I've never heard of such a thing. In any event, nickel is present in so many foods you are almost certainly already ingesting far more of it than you would ever get from an antibiotic medication.
posted by slkinsey at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2015

My daughter is allergic to nickle and can't wear any cheap jewelry like necklaces or a watch. Even the metal button on jeans will give her a rash. Is it just the earrings?
posted by tamitang at 11:49 AM on February 14, 2015

You can find out whether you do have a sensitivity to nickel by asking your doctor to do a patch test. It would probably be useful to know for sure, rather than self-diagnosing. As mentioned above, you could be having a reaction to something else entirely.
posted by Lexica at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2015

I wonder where you read that. I'm allergic to nickle, it's in all my charts and at the pharmacy and all that. I've had to take antibiotics many times, once for months on end, and it never came up. I'm not saying you're misinformed, but this is the first time I've heard this and it would be relevant to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:56 PM on February 15, 2015

Best answer: Argh! I meant antibiotic OINTMENT or CREAM, *not* oral antibiotics. Sorry for the lack of clarity...
posted by dancing leaves at 11:04 AM on February 28, 2015

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