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FDA: Biotin Supplements Could Affect Results of Medical Tests

Agency particularly concerned about biotin interference causing a falsely low result for troponin

TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Biotin supplements can interfere with the results of some critical lab tests, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.

The FDA is particularly concerned about biotin interference causing a falsely low result for troponin. The agency said in a statement that it continues to receive reports of cases in which biotin interference caused falsely low troponin results. The FDA first issued a safety communication on this issue in 2017. The agency said that some lab test developers have since reduced biotin interference in their tests, but others have not yet dealt with the problem. The FDA remains concerned about troponin laboratory tests that have not corrected the risk for biotin interference.

In a new update, the agency wants to make the public and health care providers aware of biotin interference with lab tests so that patients, physicians, and laboratories can work together to help prevent harmful false test readings. There is not sufficient information to know if stopping biotin consumption for any number of hours before a test will prevent incorrect test results, the FDA said.

The daily recommended allowance for biotin is 0.03 mg, and that amount does not typically cause interference in lab tests. But biotin levels can vary significantly between products. Those labeled to benefit hair, skin, and nails may have high levels of biotin, which may not always be clear from the name of the supplement, according to the FDA. Many supplements contain 20 mg of biotin and some contain up to 100 mg per pill, with recommendations to take multiple pills per day.

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