Tamoxifen and biotin

Hi there I have been on tamoxifen for a couple of weeks and wondered if it is ok for me to take biotin suppliment as my hair has started thinning. I am due a weeks radiotherapy at the end of the month and I wanted to check that it’s ok to take suppliments like biotin? 

Hi Julie_123 

Thanks for posting. Hair thinning  can occur as a result of tamoxifen. This can be particularly distressing as treatment is usually recommend for five, sometimes 10 years. When hormone therapy finishes, hair will usually start growing back. This may take some time and for some may not fully return to the same thickness. 

There are number of organisations, such as Cancer Hair Care, my new hair and Look Good Feel Better who offer specific information and support to women experiencing hair thinning or loss from cancer treatment. This video about breast cancer and hair loss on our YouTube channel might be helpful to watch. Your breast care nurse or treatment team may also be able to signpost you to local hair loss services in your area. 

Many people ask about vitamin and herb supplements as they want to do as much as possible to be healthy. There is often the belief that vitamins and herbs are safe as they are considered natural.   

There is much we don’t know about supplements and herbal remedies.  Herbal treatments don’t have to comply with the same regulations or rigorous testing that conventional medicines do. For many products there is a lack of research to support their use, and some can interfere with conventional medicines including cancer treatments.  Although there are some supplements which the manufacturers claim help strengthen hair or reduce hair loss, we are not aware that there is evidence to support this.  

You can search this American website, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, for information about individual herbs and vitamins including Biotin. There are sections on existing evidence and what known interaction there is with other medications. You may find that that some herbs have different names in America. You can also search herbal products and supplements on the European website Complementary and Alternative Medicine for cancer and on the American website Medicine Plus 

If you take prescribed or over the counter medicine, speak to your treatment team, GP, or a pharmacist before taking any supplements.   

We have a range of services that can help support someone who is going through treatment. Each person will find their own way of dealing with hair loss, but it can be helpful to talk to others who have been through the same experience. You can also hear from others who have experienced hair thinning on this section of our forum

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Best wishes 


Breast Care Nurse 

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