People who take high levels of biotin in dietary supplements may experience clinically significant false lab test results that could result in dire health consequences, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in a Safety Communication. The agency said it has seen an increase in the number of reported adverse events, including one death, related to biotin interference with lab tests.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin often found in multivitamins, prenatal vitamins, and dietary supplements marketed for hair, skin and nail growth. Many dietary supplements contain biotin levels up to 650 times the recommended daily intake of the B vitamin. Doctors may also recommend high levels of biotin to patients with certain medical conditions including multiple sclerosis.
Many lab tests use biotin technology because of its ability to bond with specific proteins that can be measured to detect certain health conditions, including hormone tests and tests for markers of cardiac health like troponin.
When people consume a large amount of biotin, it can cause falsely high or falsely low results, depending on the test. Incorrect test results can lead to inappropriate treatment or misdiagnosis. For example, a falsely low result in troponin can lead to a missed diagnosis of a heart attack and have serious clinical implications. At least one patient taking high levels of biotin died following falsely low troponin test results.
The FDA is recommending that consumers who take biotin supplements talk to their doctors about the possibility of biotin interference with any lab tests. Any adverse events related to biotin use should be reported to the FDA MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program at www.FDA.gov/MedWatch/Report.htm.
Source: FDA Safety Communication