In 1907 von Vörners1 observed a peculiar grayness of the nails in patients who were receiving mercury as a part of antisyphilitic therapy. This discoloration of the nails occurred both in patients receiving mercury by inunction and in those taking mercury orally. A somewhat similar condition was observed in a patient who refused to take mercury by inunction and who was subsequently treated by inhalation of fumes from a 1:2,000 solution of mercury bichloride. More recently Heller2 described the development in the nails of grayish black flecks which he ascribed to the use of mercuric sulfide in therapy.
Stühmer3 described a black discoloration of the nails on exposure to sunlight after they had been treated locally with "Sublimatspiritus" (a preparation of mercury bichloride in alcohol) and also with "Hg-Präzipitatsalbe" (an ointment containing mercury). The conditions for which this treatment was instituted were chronic paronychia
CALLAWAY JL. TRANSIENT DISCOLORATION OF THE NAILS DUE TO MERCURY BICHLORIDE. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1937;36(1):62–64. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archderm.1937.01480010066011
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