Latisse: How The Hot New Eyelash Enhancer Arose

In recent years, many drugs have entered the market inadvertently, becoming hugely popular for uses that were never intended; such is the case with Latisse eyelash enhancement.  It was born out of a group of popular medications called topical prostaglandins, drugs frequently used to decrease intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients.

What optometrists labeled a ‘complication’ or side effect of using prostaglandins was “hypertrichosis,” a condition characterized by darkening, thickening, and lengthening of the eyelashes.  Allergan offered the topical prostaglandin Lumigan in 2001, a drug that contained the active ingredient bimatoprost. Two important precursors to Latisse occurred after the FDA gave clearance for Lumigan.

Jan Marini Skin Research Inc had over $2 million worth of product seized by the Food and Drug Administration.  The product, Age Intervention Eyelash, evidently contained bimatoprost, which was unapproved for cosmetic use at the time. Allergan later filed a patent infringement suit against Jan Marini and several other companies that had tried to market bimatoprost in their eyelash enhancing drugs.

Some doctors started prescribing Lumigan off-label to enhance eyelashes.  Knowing the desirable side effects it could produce. But Lumigan wasn’t formulated for cosmetic use and many believed more research was needed to confirm the safety of topical prostaglandins for cosmetic use.  

Clinical trials and further research is exactly what Alllergan Inc did.  278 healthy adults with minimal to moderate eyelash prominence applied bimatoprost or a placebo to their lash line.  The results were favorable; researchers observed that the average patient’s eyelashes were 25 percent longer, 106 percent fuller, and 18 percent darker, while only 3.6 percent experienced itchy eyes and redness, and only 2.9 percent experienced skin hyperpigmentation.

Latisse received FDA approval late last year for the treatment of ‘inadequate’ eyelashes.  Allergan now owns the patent on use of bimatoprost for eyelash enhancement.

For more information on Latisse in Oregon, contact us.

Dr. Lee B. Daniel, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
244 Country Club Rd
Eugene OR   97401