The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting the public, health care providers, lab personnel, and lab test developers that biotin can significantly interfere with certain lab tests and cause incorrect test results which may go undetected.
According to the FDA, many lab tests use biotin technology due to its ability to bond with specific proteins which can be measured to detect certain health conditions. For example, biotin is used in hormone tests and tests for markers of cardiac health like troponin. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin often found in multi-vitamins, prenatal vitamins, and dietary supplements marketed for hair, skin, and nail growth.
Biotin in blood or other samples taken from patients who are ingesting high levels of biotin in dietary supplements can cause clinically significant incorrect lab test results, which may lead to inappropriate patient management or misdiagnosis. For example, a falsely low result for troponin, a clinically important biomarker to aid in the diagnosis of heart attacks, may lead to a missed diagnosis and potentially serious clinical implications. The FDA has seen an increase in the number of reported adverse events and has received a report that one patient taking high levels of biotin died following falsely low troponin test results when a troponin test known to have biotin interference was used.
Patients and physicians may be unaware of biotin interference in laboratory assays. Even physicians who are aware of this interference are likely unaware as to whether, and how much biotin, patients are taking. Since patients are unaware of biotin interference, patients may not report taking biotin supplements to their physicians, and may even be unaware they are taking biotin (e.g., when taking products generally labeled for their benefits to hair and nails).
The FDA is working with stakeholders to better understand biotin interference with laboratory tests, and to develop additional future recommendations for safe testing in patients who have taken high levels of biotin when using laboratory tests that use biotin technology. The FDA is also monitoring reports of adverse events associated with biotin interference with laboratory tests and will update the public if significant new information becomes available.
For details, please refer to the FDA websites:
Posted on 29 November 2017