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Biotin for metabolic disorders

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Biotin for metabolic disorders

This leaflet is about the use of biotin for metabolic disorders such as biotin deficiency and isolated carboxylase deficiency.

This leaflet has been written for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information sometimes differs from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information is usually aimed at adult patients. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Name of drug

Biotin (also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7)

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

Your child’s body needs biotin to break down the food that they eat and turn it into energy. All the cells in your child’s body need biotin so that your child can grow and develop properly. Your child does not have enough biotin and this may cause symptoms such as feeling weak, a rash, dry skin, losing their hair, feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting).

It is important that they take biotin regularly, to replace their missing biotin. This should improve their symptoms and make sure they grow properly.

What is biotin available as?

  • Tablets: 5 mg

When should I give biotin?

Biotin is usually given once each day. This is usually in the morning or evening. 

Give the medicine at about the same times each day so that this becomes part of your child’s daily routine, which will help you to remember.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of biotin (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions about how much to give.

How should I give it?

Tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water, milk or juice. Your child should not chew the tablet. 

You can crush the tablet and mix it with a small amount of soft food such as yogurt, honey or mashed potato.

When should the medicine start working?

It will take a few weeks for biotin to work properly, so you may not see much difference in your child’s symptoms to start with. It is important that you continue to give biotin as you have been told to by your doctor.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of biotin, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose of biotin, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose. 

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your GP, pharmacist or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.

What if I forget to give it?

Give the missed dose when you remember, as long as this is at least 12 hours before the next dose is due. You do not need to wake up a sleeping child to give a missed dose.

What if I give too much?

You are unlikely to do harm if you give an extra dose of biotin by mistake. If you think you may have given your child too much biotin, contact your doctor or local NHS services (111 in parts of England; 0845 4647 in parts of England and Wales; 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland). 

Have the medicine container or packaging with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Your child is unlikely to get any side-effects with biotin. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side-effects to a UK safety scheme at http://yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as biotin?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

General advice about medicines

  • Try to give medicines at about the same times each day, to help you remember.
  • If you are not sure a medicine is working, contact your doctor but continue to give the medicine as usual in the meantime. Do not give extra doses, as you may do harm.
  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.
  • If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact a doctor straight away.
  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about biotin and about other medicines used to treat biotin deficiency and isolated carboxylase deficiency.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: 
13/11/2013

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