The landscape of hair loss therapies has evolved, bringing with it some concern around appropriate treatment. It is important for clinicians to stay abreast with the latest data coming out of trials and individually consult their hair loss patients accordingly on a case by case basis, says Amy McMichael, M.D., professor and chair, department of dermatology, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, N.C., who recently spoke at the ODAC Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference in Orlando.
“There is always going to be new data coming out in the hair world. Although the pace of the current research is limited by the lack of funding in this field, if we keep working on it and we band together with our data and get larger data sets, we’ll be able to talk about these things and make more sense for our patients,” Dr. McMichael says.
Although the true utility of biotin has long been disputed, the supplement has been regularly included in product formulas for hair loss because it has been viewed as beneficial. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t work very well in hair loss treatment, Dr. McMichael says, the main reason clinicians have been discouraging their patients from taking biotin supplements for their hair loss is the potential danger it can pose in medical testing.
According to Dr. McMichael, the larger and growing concern is the effect that supplementary biotin can have on important medical testing that patients may be undergoing by obscuring results and, therefore, appropriate therapy.
Biotin is regularly used in assays in hormonal laboratory testing, including thyroid testing, hormonal tests for pregnancy, as well as tests for cardiac arrest. As such, patients who are taking biotin supplements could have false test results if their laboratory test assay contained biotin.
Dr. McMichael reports no relevant disclosures.
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