Protect Against
Biotin-Related
Lab Test Issues

Are You Aware You're Taking Biotin?

Millions of people are taking biotin,1,2,3 but many may not be aware that biotin is part of their everyday vitamins and supplements, like multivitamins, prenatal vitamins, and supplements for hair, skin and nails. Some doctors may also perscribe biotin for certain clinical conditions.4

In a global survey, when people were asked if they are currently taking any dietary supplements or vitamins containing biotin, only 17% responded that they were taking biotin. Of the 17% who knew they were taking biotin, only 3% were aware of the issues with biotin interference and laboratory testing.5

Looking at biotin sales data and the global survey data, many people may be taking biotin without knowing it.1,5 And certainly, many people are not aware of how biotin can interfere with laboratory tests.5

 
 
 
 
Biotin Interference with Test Results Low Awareness Infographic Image

What Is Biotin and Is It Harmful?

Biotin is a vitamin, B7, with many health benefits. Although it can be obtained through your diet, it is also added to multivitamins and supplements. Biotin is not harmful and there are no known side effects from taking biotin. In fact, biotin is recommended to expectant mothers to take for fetal development and is commonly believed to improve hair, skin and nails.4,6

Know the Issues
Biotin Lab Test Interference Resources Infographic Image

How Does Biotin Interfere with Laboratory Tests?

Biotin is known to interfere with some diagnostic laboratory tests. When blood samples with elevated levels of biotin are sent for laboratory tests that use the free biotin-streptavidin capture method, the results may not be accurate. Biotin interference with laboratory tests has resulted in misdiagnosis and mistreatment, and has been associated with at least one reported death.7 

These scientific journal articles contain examples of how biotin has interfered with laboratory test results.8,9 If you are (or might be) taking biotin, you can read these articles for more information or share them with your doctor.

New England Journal of Medicine Journal of the Endocrine Society
Delaying Testing
Biotin Interference Waiting May Not Work Infographic Image

Why Might My Doctor Delay Testing?

If you are taking biotin, your doctor may recommend delaying drawing your blood for laboratory tests, sending you home, and rescheduling once you have stopped taking biotin. This may mean another visit to have your blood drawn and the delay in testing may also delay your diagnosis and treatment.

Some studies have shown that biotin interference could last up to several days,10,11 and the FDA does not have enough data to make a recommendation on how long to wait, before drawing blood for laboratory tests, after stopping biotin consumption. Consult with your doctor about biotin interference.

Urgent Care
Biotin Interference with Emergency Laboratory Tests Infographic Image

What If Emergency Care Is Needed?

In many emergency and urgent care situations, laboratory testing connot be delayed. That's why it is important to share if and how much biotin you are taking with the Emergency Department doctors who are treating you. This may help doctors interpret your test results.

Are All Laboratory Tests Impacted by Biotin Interference?

Fortunately, not all laboratory testing methods are impacted by biotin interference. In certain circumstances, your doctor may be able to request a test that is biotin-interference-free, like those offered by Abbott. Consult with your doctor on your concerns about biotin interference and use the Conversation Guide as a resource when talking with your doctor.

Conversation Guide

  1. Nielsen, Biotin Monthly Sales Data, 2014-2017.
  2. Nielsen FDM Data Ending 03/26/16.
  3. Google analytics: September 2016.
  4. Zempleni J, Kuroishi T. Biotin. Adv Nutr. 2012; 3:213-214.
  5. Data on file at Abbott.
  6. Combs, GF. Biotin. In: Combs, GF. The Vitamins: Fundamental Aspects in Nutrition and Health. San Diego, CA: Elsevier, Inc.; 2008:331-3.
  7. The FDA Warns that Biotin May Interfere with Lab Tests: FDA Safety Communication (November 28, 2017) https://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/safety/alertsandnotices/ucm586505.htm.
  8. Kummer, S. NEJM August 2016: Biotin Treatment Mimicking Graves’ Disease.
  9. Seaborg, E. January 2016: Thyroid Month: Beware of Biotin, Endocrine News, 2016. 
  10. Wijeratne, N. October 2012: Pathology: Positive and negative interference in immunoassays following biotin ingestion: A pharmacokinetic study.
  11. Jenkins Colon, P. and Greene, D. N. Biotin Interference in Clinical Immunoassays. JALM. May 2018: 941-951.

 

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