Rx for Long, Lush Lashes
Long, lush lashes are high on the list of beauty must-haves, and now there may be a prescription for them.
Pharmaceutical companies often discover other uses for their products when patients report side effects.
Such is the case for bimatoprost, produced by Allergan, which helps lower intra-ocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
Since 2001, patients using bimatoprost have experienced longer, thicker eyelashes. Allergan elected to wait for several years’ hard data on patient safety before testing the product for use in eyelash growth. The study included 278 adults, and was limited to upper eyelash application only.
Dr. Stuart Seiff, who participated in the study, expressed concern about Latisse affecting eye pigment by causing lighter irises to darken. However, Carolyn Hove, Vice President of Allergan’s Corporate Communications, states that, quote, “Iris pigmentation was not observed in the Latisse trials. It is only a rare effect that has been observed with Lumigan.”
She adds that while Lumigan is the same product, it is applied directly into the eye, rather than along the lash line. This treatment difference does increase the minimal risk of darkening irises.
In December, the FDA approved Latisse for treating eyelash hypotrichosis (HY poh TRICK oh sis) along the top lash line only. Dr. Seiff expressed concern that patients will apply Latisse along their lower lash line, too, a so-called “off label” use that hasn’t been tested for efficacy or safety.
He says he would like to see further trials looking at the drug’s use on the lower lids, long-term use in patients with light irises, and how often the drug must be used each week after the first two months to keep new lashes in place.