IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION
T.R.U.E. TEST indicates that you have a contact allergy to thimerosal, an
antiseptic and preservative also known as Merthiolate®, which is used in some
cosmetics, topical medications, and vaccines.
Contact of this substance with your skin may result in dermatitis. Other
factors may or may not be related to your condition. Your physician will
counsel you on appropriate management of your dermatitis.
Where Thimerosal Is Found:
Thimerosal is known widely as a first-aid product available as ?tincture of
Merthiolate®? for home use. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics,
including makeup removers, eye moisturizers, and mascaras. It may be found in
soap-free cleansers; in nose, eye, and ear drops; and in eye ointments, topical
medications, and antiseptic sprays. Exposure may occur through the use of
cleaning fluids for contact lenses. Thimerosal also is used widely as a
preservative in vaccines, antitoxins, tuberculin tests, and desensitization
How to Avoid Thimerosal:
Because thimerosal is found commonly in cosmetics; eye, ear, and nose
preparations; and topical medications, it is important to use only ingredient-labeled
products that do not list thimerosal or any of its synonyms on the label.
Inform your healthcare providers that you are allergic to thimerosal and ask
for preparations that do not contain thimerosal or any other allergens to which
you are likely to react.
Most live-virus vaccines, including influenza vaccine, do not contain
thimerosal. However, many heat-killed or recombinant vaccines do. In general,
patients with thimerosal allergy will not react to thimerosal when the vaccine
is given in the muscle. In some patients, however, thimerosal-containing
vaccines can cause dermatitis. Since this reaction is not life threatening,
discuss with your physician the risks versus benefits of being vaccinated with
thimerosal-containing vaccines for which there are no alternatives.
Note: These are general guidelines for avoiding
this particular allergen in your daily activities. Please consult your
physician regarding specific additional instructions for you.
Synonyms/Components of Thimerosal:
Ethyl (2-mercaptobenzoato-S) mercury sodium salt
[(o-carboxyphenyl)thio] Ethylmercury sodium salt
Other Substances to Which You May React:
Other organic mercury compounds (metallic mercury, as in dental fillings, is
not an organic mercury compound)
How to Read Product Labels:
Now that you know the substances to which you are allergic, make a list, perhaps
on a small card, of the names of all the chemicals to which you are allergic,
along with all the synonyms for those chemicals, to take with you when
Before purchasing a product that may come in contact with your skin, look for
its list of ingredients. The list of ingredients may be anywhere on the
package. Read the list carefully to see if any of the names or synonyms are on
the list. If so, ask your pharmacist or physician for a suitable alternative.
Then check that product against your list.
When a product is not packaged, does not have a list of ingredients, or lists
only the active ingredients, you have several choices: (1) find an alternative
that does list all ingredients, (2) contact the manufacturer for a full list of
ingredients, or (3) ask your pharmacist or physician for a suitable
Examples of Products:
This brief list is intended to provide a few examples; it is not intended as
a comprehensive listing of all products in these categories. This information
is subject to change without notice. Products are frequently reformulated by
their manufacturers. Even with products you may have used with confidence in
the past, read product labels carefully before use to be assured that they do
not include this allergen.
Examples of Products Containing Thimerosal
Antibiotics for the Eye
Cortisporin® Ophthalmic Suspension
Neosporin® Ophthalmic Solution
Nasal Moist® AF
Neo-Synephrine® Pediatric Formula, Mild Formula, Regular Strength, and Extra
Strength Nasal Spray
Coly-mycin® S Otic
Cortisporin® Otic Suspension
L'Oreal® Miracle Wear Mascara
Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
Examples of Products Free of Thimerosal
Bausch & Lomb® Dry Eye Therapy
Murine® Lubricating Eyedrops
Tobrex® and Tobradex® Solution or Ointment
Polysporin® Ophthalmic Ointment
Contact Lens Products
Renu® Enzymatic Cleaner
Opti-One® Rewetting Drops
Bausch & Lomb® Sensitive Eyes Sterile Saline Spray
Afrin® Nasal Spray and Drops
NTZ® Nasal Spray and Drops
Cortisporin® Otic Solution
All Almay® products
All Physicians Formula® products
Most live-virus vaccines including influenza vaccine
Adverse reactions associated with
patch testing include, burning, pruritus, erythema, and hyperpigmentation.
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©1999-2001 Allerderm Laboratories All Rights Reserved.
Please read our legal disclaimer and
copyright© 2001. Allerderm Laboratories
INFORMATION, DATA, AND MATERIAL CONTAINED, PRESENTED, OR PROVIDED HERE IS FOR
GENERAL INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REFLECTING
THE KNOWLEDGE OR OPINIONS OF THE PUBLISHER, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED OR
INTENDED AS PROVIDING MEDICAL OR LEGAL ADVICE. THE DECISION WHETHER OR
NOT TO VACCINATE IS AN IMPORTANT AND COMPLEX ISSUE AND SHOULD BE MADE BY YOU,
AND YOU ALONE, IN CONSULTATION WITH YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.