FDA Approves Drug That Promises Movie Star Eyelashes

By Nina Bai | December 30, 2008 5:45 pm

lashesNaturally lush lashes can be yours within 16 weeks, claims the drug company Allergan, which has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Latisse, the first ever eyelash-enhancing medication. According to the company, clinical trials show that daily dabs of Latisse on the edges of eyelids produce longer, thicker lashes, although mild side effects are possible. Allergan plans to start selling prescription-only Latisse by the end of March.

The eyelash-enhancing ingredient in Latisse is bimatoprost, a compound derived from fatty acids that bind to receptors in the eyelashes that may be involved in the development and re-growth of hair follicles. Allergan has used bimatoprost since 2001 in Lumigan, an Rx eye drop that lowers eye pressure in people with glaucoma [Scientific American]. Drugmakers stumbled upon the idea for Latisse when doctors and patients noticed lusher lashes on glaucoma patients taking Lumigan. Soon after, some doctors began writing Lumigan prescriptions for cosmetic patients, and competitors raced to create eyelash products that used bimatoprost or similar ingredients [The Wall Street Journal, subscription required]. Allergan, which also produces Botox, has since sued 11 companies for patent infringement for using bimatopost to promote lash growth.

Although Latisse will be marketed specifically as a medication for eyelash hypotrichosis, or lack of eyelash growth, the demand for its cosmetic benefits is likely to be high. A 30-day supply of Latisse will cost $120, and Allergan predicts global annual sales to top $500 million. Latisse is to be applied once daily to the base of the upper eyelash with a sterile, single-use-per-eye disposable applicator [Reuters]. The results won’t be immediately visible. It may take up to three months to develop thicker, longer and darker lashes. And once the treatments are stopped, eyelashes will return to their original state [The Boston Herald].

Side effects reported in clinical trials include eye redness, itchy eyes, and temporary darkening of the skin of the eyelid. Allergan says the treatment may also permanently darken the iris of the eye. Latisse may also promote hair growth in other skin areas that it frequently touches, so Allergan recommends blotting it off any skin other than the upper eyelid’s lash line to prevent that side effect [WebMD]. Latisse contains a lower dose of bimatoprost than that found in Lumigan and is not meant to be applied directly to the eye. Although the FDA has approved Latisse, it also recommended further studies in certain groups of patients, such as young patients and people who lost their eyelashes to chemotherapy [WebMD].

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Image: iStockphoto

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
MORE ABOUT: pharmaceuticals
  • dan

    This is fucken crazy, side effects? this is playing with fire people and you will get burnt I see lots of lawsuits happening if this ever gets to market.

  • John

    Why wouldn’t bald people smear this stuff on the skin where they want hair to grow? Watch out Rogain…..

  • william

    This will be a major moneymaker for the drug company. Watch their stock.

  • http://discover alana

    this is true.i have to use it for glaucoma.if i didn’t have glaucoma i wouldn’t use it.

  • http://discover alana

    just a lowley moneymaker,if i didn’t have insurance i couldn’t afford it.

  • Candace

    this would be great for people with trichotillomania. I hope insurance would cover it.

  • Mike

    What is the answer to the question whether this will treat male pattern baldness? The price will have to come down a great deal, but it sounds promising. I have used Rogaine for 8 years with limited success. It slowed the balding, but never reversed it or stopped it. I imagine I have paid $2500 for the Rogaine over all of those years. I should have saved it up and gotten a hair transplant, LOL.

  • Chubbee

    Mike, there are only so many perfect heads in the world… the rest are covered with hair.

  • http://hairloss-centre.com/ C Jones

    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing

  • donna brown

    I have been using Latisse for about 9 weeks. The lid didn’t turn dark but my eyes look like someone gave me a black eye. Today I discovered that I have black hair growing at the edges of my eyes and done onto top of cheek which makes my skin appear darker around the corners and below my eye. I don’t have product dripping in these areas.

  • http://penileyeastinfection.blogspot.com/ Henry M.
  • akym

    for lash growth revitalash for me really works and i am so contented with the results done to my eyebrow and lashes…so nice effect.

  • http://www.growlashes.org Bill Keading

    Agree with Akym, revitalash is a good option.

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