By Patty Kovacs, Editor-at-Large, Makemeheal.com
Since the beginning of time, a woman’s lashes have been an integral part of the feminine mystique. This past December 16, 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) approved multi-specialty health company Allergan’s eyelash-growth drug, Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution), 0.03% as a novel treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes, a condition that means a person does not have enough eyelashes. Early in 2009, Latisse became available for purchase through physician prescription, and demand for the product is staggering.
Sales are booming and lashes are looking lush. Allergan, which also makes the blockbuster BOTOX Cosmetic, estimates global peak sales could top $500 million a year. The cost of a tube of Latisse Eyelash? A mere $125 for a 30-day supply. Users say it’s worth every pretty penny.
According to reports released, Latisse is a safe, once-daily prescription treatment. A dab from the mascara-like tube is applied to the base of the upper eyelashes with a sterile, single-use-per-eye, paint brush-like, disposable applicator. The results? Longer, thicker, darker eyelashes in just 16 weeks. Patients must continue treatment. If treatment is stopped, eyelashes gradually return to the length and condition they were prior to treatment.
The effects of Latisse were discovered inadvertently. Doctors and patients taking Allergan drug Lumigan found a side effect to be eyelash growth, prompting Allergan to study it for aesthetic use. Turned out to be a winning decision.
The active ingredient in Latisse is bimatroprost, the same ingredient in Allergan’s 7-yr glaucoma treatment Lumigan. Bimatoprost is a structural prostaglandin analog, a lipid compound derived from fatty acids designed to bind to prostaglandin (PG) receptors. PG receptors are present in hair, particularly in the dermal papilla and outer root sheath. Although the precise mechanism of action is unknown, PG receptors are thought to be involved in the development and regrowth of the hair follicle, by increasing the percent of hairs in, and the duration of, the anagen or growth phase.
“Latisse fulfills a significant and previously unmet need in the medical aesthetic marketplace with a product approved by the FDA that increases the growth of eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker,” said Scott Whitcup, M.D., Allergan’s Executive Vice President of R&D. “As the global leader in medical aesthetics, Latisse exemplifies our continuing commitment to developing innovative treatments that are studied in well-controlled clinical trials, manufactured to pharmaceutical standards, appropriately labeled for use, and available to consumers as a prescription product.”
Safety warnings also apply. Latisse is intended for use on the skin of the upper eyelid margins at the base of the eyelashes. It is NOT to be applied to the lower eyelid. If you are using Lumigan or other products in the same class for elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), or if you have a history of abnormal IOP, you should only use Latisse under the close supervision of a doctor.
Allergan studies show the most common side effects after using Latisse solution are an itching sensation in the eyes and/or eye redness. This was reported in approximately 4% of patients. Latisse solution may cause other less common side effects which typically occur on the skin close to where Latisse is applied, or in the eyes. These include skin darkening, eye irritation, dryness of the eyes, and redness of the eyelids.
According to Allergan, Latisse use may cause darkening of the eyelid skin which may be reversible. Although not reported in clinical studies, Latisse use may also cause increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye (iris) which is likely to be permanent.
It is possible for hair growth to occur in other areas of your skin that Latisse frequently touches. Any excess solution outside the upper eyelid margin should be blotted with a tissue or other absorbent material to reduce the chance of this from happening. It is also possible for a difference in eyelash length, thickness, fullness, pigmentation, number of eyelash hairs, and/or direction of eyelash growth to occur between eyes. These differences, should they occur, will usually go away if you stop using Latisse .
If you develop a new ocular condition (e.g., trauma or infection), experience a sudden decrease in visual acuity, have ocular surgery, or develop any ocular reactions, particularly conjunctivitis and eyelid reactions, you should immediately seek your doctor.
If you develop or experience any eye problems or have eye surgery, consult your doctor immediately about continued use of Latisse .
That said, when I asked dermatologist Dr.Richard Glogau (www.sfderm.com) about Latisse, he replied, “To say that my patients are excited about their results from using Latisse is putting it mildly. It’s been incredible.” Glogau is a Latisse clinical study investigator and a University of California – San Francisco Professor of Dermatology.
With further clinical studies, Latisse might just be the answer for chemotherapy patients whose lashes have been sacrificed. It’s all looking very good.
Allergan recently collaborated with Make-A-Wish Foundation and is offering help and hope to children with catastrophic illness. In March of this year, Allergan hosted a star-studded event in Hollywood to launch Latisse Wishes, a charitable public awareness campaign designed to help make wishes come true supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The campaign launched with an initial donation of $500,000 from Allergan to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Consumers are encouraged to help double this amount to $1 million by registering their support at www.latisse.com to help grant the wishes of children in their local communities. Between now and December 31, 2009, Allergan will donate $5 for each new visitor who registers online, up to an additional $500,000. And that is a beautiful thing.
How to Order Latisse?
A prescription and purchase of Latisse are available through your doctor or you can get Latisse here at www.makemeheal.com.
Patty Kovacs, Editor-At-Large at Makemeheal.com, is a published author and beauty expert. Patty is the Executive Producer/Host of The Health and Beauty Revolution Show on wsRadio. Her 800+ interviews include over 450 New York Times best-selling authors.
See Patty’s Websites: www.pattykovacevich.com
Patty Kovacs and Lois W. Stern are the co-founders of Coast to Coast – Eye on Beauty Newsletter. Check it out!none