Heavy metals and certain heavy metal compounds have been used medicinally in a variety of conditions for many years. In past decades, the over-the-counter market bore many products containing heavy metals.1 The medical literature abounded with reports of both the toxic and therapeutic potential of silverand gold-containing medications particularly.2 The gray-skinned, azure-nailed patient with argyria was seen regularly in the recent past, but, to today's younger practitioners, this patient may not only be alien but may also be mislabeled with more ominous diagnoses.
Our intention is to restore interest in argyria and to discuss its clinical, diagnostic, and therapeutic considerations.
Report of a Case
Rectal bleeding developed in a 72-year-old man. He was also found to have a colon polyp on the left side. Surgical removal of the polyp was uneventful, and, on microscopic examination, the polyp was found to be benign.Because of his slate-gray skin,
Smith SZ, Scheen SR, Allen JD, Arnn ET. Argyria. Arch Dermatol. 1981;117(9):595-596. doi:10.1001/archderm.1981.01650090077034