LATISSE® makes lash growth possible because of its active ingredient: bimatoprost. Although the precise mechanism of action is not known, research suggests that the growth of eyelashes occurs by increasing the percent of hairs in, and the duration of, the anagen (or growth) phase. Lashes can grow longer, thicker and darker because bimatoprost can also prolong this growth phase.
In patients using ophthalmic prostaglandins such as travoprost and latanoprost, as well as prostamides like bimatoprost, it has been anecdotally noted that there had been an increase in diameter, density and length of eyelashes. Allergan has initiatedclinical trials investigating the usage of Lumigan as a cosmetic drug. On December 5, 2008, the FDA Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee voted to approve bimatoprost for the cosmetic use of darkening and lengthening eyelashes. The medical term for this is treatment of hypotrichosis, however, the FDA approval is for purely cosmetic purposes.
According to Allergan's package labeling, users of its Latisse cosmetic product didn't develop darker irises in clinical studies; however, "patients should be advised about the potential for increased brown iris pigmentation which is likely to be permanent."
Several cosmetics companies have released products based on prostaglandin analogs, as non-drug cosmetics.
- Age Intervention Eyelash by Jan Marini Skin Research
- RevitaLash by Athena Cosmetics Corp.
- MD Lash Factor by PhotoMedex Inc.
These companies have been sued by Allergan for patent infringement.The FDA has seized Age Intervention Eyelash as an "unapproved and misbranded drug" because Jan Marini Skin Research promoted it as something that increases eyelash growthand because it is "adulterated" with bimatoprost.
Reductions in orbital fat (i.e., fat around the eye) have been observed in patients using bimatoprost as glaucoma therapy. Of particular interest, the loss of orbital fat was unilateral in patients who used bimatoprost on only one eye.The effect appears reversible upon cessation of bimatoprost use. The effect is likely to explain deepening of the lid sulcus described in a series of three patients on bimatoprost. The mechanism for the apparent fat reduction remains unclear. However, bimatoprost is chemically analogous to prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2alpha), a compound which is known to reduce fat by inhibition of adipocyte differentiation and survival.
Possible side effects of this medication are:
- 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.
- It could cause unexpected growth of hair if applied inappropriately, on the cheek, for example.
- It could cause infection if the one-time applicators which come with the genuine product are reused.
- Lashes could grow so long that they become ingrown and scratch the cornea.
- May cause darkening of the eyelid or of the area beneath the eye.