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July 1972

Phenylmercuric Acetate as Primary Irritant

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Arch Dermatol. 1972;106(1):129. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620100103030

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To the Editor.—  This letter is in reference to an article by Fisher et al which appeared in the September issue of the Archives (104:286, 1971).Following Dr. Fisher's recommendation for a vehicle tray, we have begun using such a tray in the Dermatology Clinic at Letterman General Hospital. In the first three patients tested, the only positive reactions have been 4+ vesicular eruptions at the site of application of phenylmercuric acetate 0.1% in petrolatum.This, of course, suggested that the reaction was an irritant rather than contact dermatitis. I therefore treated myself with the same substance and found I was unable to tolerate the patch longer than 24 hours. Upon removing it, I found again, as in three out of three previous patients, a 4+ vesicular patch test reaction.I would like, therefore, to respectfully suggest that phenylmercuric acetate is capable of eliciting an intense primary irritant reaction and

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