Chrysiasis

Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2005.

Chrysiasis is a condition characterised by blue-grey to greyish purple staining of the skin caused by the deposition of gold particles in connective tissue (the deep layers of skin). Pigmentation is usually limited to light-exposed areas of the body and to the sclera (the white part of the eye). The nails, hair and mucous membranes such as lips are not normally affected.

The source of exposure is from prolonged use of gold therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Chrysiasis is rarely seen today as the dosages of gold used for arthritis are much lower than those used 50 years ago for the treatment of tuberculosis, when gold was a common form of treatment.

The granules of deposited gold are generally larger and more irregular than those of sliver. Chrysiasis may develop after a few months or after a long latent period. Similar to argyria, the condition is irreversible and basically untreatable.

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