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Cutaneous Crospovidone

A Newly Described Foreign Body Due to Illicit Drug Abuse

Hoyt, Brian S. MD*,†; Aaron, Denise M. MD*; Yan, Shaofeng MD, PhD; Linos, Konstantinos D. MD

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: August 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 8 - p e84–e86
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0000000000001374
Extraordinary Case Report

Abstract: Crospovidone, a polymer of poly N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone, is an inert insoluble disintegrant found in pharmaceutical tablets. This material has been encountered in the lungs of intravenous drug users and embolized with other components such as talc and microcrystalline cellulose. More recently, crospovidone has also been described in the gastrointestinal tract. We present 2 cases of cutaneous crospovidone deposition resulting from subcutaneous injection of crushed tablets, commonly known as “skin popping.” Clinical presentation includes painful, inflamed papules, nodules, or ulcers with overlying eschar. Crospovidone has a distinct and reproducible histochemical staining profile. Histologic recognition of this material is important because it can guide clinicians in their diagnosis and management decisions.

*Department of Surgery, Section of Dermatology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH; and

Division of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH.

Correspondence: Konstantinos D. Linos, MD, Division of Dermatopathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03766 (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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