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J Cutan Med Surg. 2019 Nov/Dec;23(6):613-616. doi: 10.1177/1203475419871046. Epub 2019 Aug 13.

Consumer Perception of Biotin Supplementation.

Author information

1
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA, USA.
2
Department of Dermatology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Biotin is an essential cofactor for metabolic pathways in humans. It is frequently self-prescribed by consumers and often recommended by dermatologists and primary care physicians, despite limited evidence of its effect on skin, hair, and nail disorders. A recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning stated that biotin can interfere with laboratory tests.

OBJECTIVES:

Our objectives were to determine the perception of biotin by Amazon consumers, including perception of improvement in hair, skin, or nails with biotin supplementation and consumers' awareness of the FDA warning on biotin.

METHODS:

The keyword biotin was searched on Amazon.com, and the top 1 percentile of biotin products according to average consumer review were analyzed for dosage, indications, price, quantity, warnings, number, and average score of reviews.

RESULTS:

From 16 biotin products analyzed, the mean review score was 4.38. The mean percentage of reviews stating that biotin helped hair, nails, and skin was 27.2%, 15.03%, and 2.8%, respectively. No biotin products mentioned the FDA warning, and only 1 reviewer referenced the warning.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings suggest that biotin supplementation is prevalent and perceived as helpful despite limited evidence of improvement. The majority of biotin users were unaware that biotin interacted with laboratory testing demonstrating the need for biotin manufacturers to include a warning label about the FDA warning and for physicians to warn their patients on the risks and benefits of biotin supplementation.

KEYWORDS:

Amazon; Food and Drug Administration warning; biotin; hair disorders; laboratory testing; nail disorders; patient education; skin disorders

PMID:
31409115
DOI:
10.1177/1203475419871046

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