In this episode, I’ll discuss lab interference from the supplement biotin.
The prevalence of biotin use may be as high as 7.7% according to a 2018 survey of an ED patient population. This supplement is sold as having effects on hair, nail, and skin health. Alternate names for biotin are vitamin B7 or vitamin H.
When taken as a supplement doses are higher than found in normal dietary intake and it is reported to interfere in several immunoassays.
A recent letter to the editor in Annals of Emergency Medicine summarized the tests that biotin may interfere with. Some of the most notable are:
Human chorionic gonadotropin
The authors point out that:
…this interference has resulted in misdiagnoses and mistreatment of heart disease, thyroid conditions, breast cancer, pregnancy, and fertility, with associated increases in adverse advents and one death.
Pharmacists taking medication histories from ED patients can identify patients taking the supplement biotin and highlight the potential for lab interference via physician and nurse education.
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