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Eyelash growth product poised to get FDA approval

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Eyelashes & Brows
December 8, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments
Allergan (the maker of Botox) has had an eyelash growth product called Latisse in the works for some time and it looks if it will get FDA approval. Take note: Latisse uses the glaucoma drug, bimatoprost, as the active ingredient.

No major safety issues were raised in the FDA review, although four patients in the 278-person clinical study left because of side effects such as dry eye and eye inflammation. Allergan said it would minimize risk by telling doctors and patients about potential drug side effects and instructing users not to use Latisse on lower eyelashes.

The next step towards FDA acceptance was gaining the support of a panel of independent medical experts who met last Friday to vote on Latisse. If they give the all clear it is highly likely that Latisse will reach market because the FDA rarely goes against panel recommendations. This will mean Allergan will become the first company to launch an FDA-approved eyelash enhancer.

This is what Wikipedia lists about potential side-effects from bimatoprost:

  • May cause blurred vision

  • May cause eyelid redness

  • May permanently darken eyelashes

  • May cause eye discomfort

  • May eventually cause permanent darkening of the iris to brown

  • May cause a temporary burning sensation during use

  • May cause thickening of the eyelashes

The University of Maryland has this to say about prostaglandins (a closely related glaucoma drug found in Revitalash, for example) and bitamaprost:

" Side Effects. These drugs do not slow down the heart rate and also appear to be safe for people with asthma. Side effects include itching, redness, and burning during administration. Muscle and joint pain may also occur. All of these drugs may permanently change eye color from blue or green to brown. To date, such color changes do not seem to be hazardous. (The only significant problem may be cosmetic in people who treat only one eye, since the color may differ from the other.) These drugs can increase blood flow in the eye and also make eyelashes become thicker and longer in some patients. (These latter effects are more common with bimatoprost and travoprost than with latanoprost.)"

  • November 5, 2013

    by Roz

    I was prescribed Lumigan several years ago for glaucoma. After 2 years, my eyelashes were longer. However, I also had red rings around my eyes, raccoon like. When I asked my doctor about these side effects, he said "O, thats the Lumigan ring, its very common." We decided to try another eye drop as I didn't like the red rings. I still have them years later after switching. We joked about the fact that in old age there was something that made eyelashes grow, why didn't I have this in my 20s, never dreaming the cosmetic industry would notice and create all these products. I say beware. These drugs were invented to prevent blindness.

  • July 21, 2009

    by marta

    Good catch Ann. At least I'd misspelled it consistently. Thanks to you it has now been corrected.

  • July 21, 2009

    by Ann Stewart

    Not to pick nits, but the spelling is bimatoprost. Now I'll probably misspell something.

    I love You sure do a lot of research, which I'm sure we all appreciate.

  • December 9, 2008

    by marta

    Zoe, you are so cynical :). But, basically, yes...

  • December 9, 2008

    by Zoe

    Let me see if I've got this straight: Allergan is pushing a cosmetic application for Lumigan, which was basically what was in all those other proven eyelash growth formulas that were just banned by the FDA for...including Lumigan or a chemical relative? If that's the case, then am I the only one who thinks that the whole hoopla sounds like a suspiciously fortuitous event for Allergan? Also, if Lumigan is available by prescription only, what about Latisse?

  • December 8, 2008

    by JulieK

    Every article you post regarding eyelash enhancement is of particular note to me. But as I'm being treated for dry eyes (and will do for the better part of 2009), all I can do is take notes and keep track. That may be a good thing in the end. A "best choice" may be marked, and I can just get on with it! I'm happy these products are so regularly included here. ~jk

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