WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Dec. 5, 2008 -- An
FDA advisory panel today recommended approving Latisse, a drug to promote
longer, thicker, darker eyelashes.
Latisee is a spin-off of the
glaucoma drug Lumigan. The FDA approved Lumigan in 2001 as an eyedrop. Eyelash
growth is a known side effect of the drug.
Allergan Inc., the drug company
that makes Lumigan, studied the drug to see how well it promoted eyelash
growth, thickness, and darkness when dabbed like an eyeliner at the roots of
the eyelashes on the upper eyelid.
In that study, 137 people
used Latisse and 141 people used a placebo solution for 16 weeks. The result:
Thicker, longer, darker eyelashes were more common by the end of the study in
the Latisse group. And people in the Latisse group reported more satisfaction
with their lashes than people who used the placebo.
Side effects, which were generally
temporary and mild, included eye redness, which stopped when the use of the
drug was discontinued, according to Allergan documents submitted to the FDA.
Lumigan's prescribing information
notes that the drug may darken eyelid skin and gradually increase
pigmentation of the iris, making eyes browner. Those iris color changes,
which may not be noticeable for several months to years, may be permanent
but don't progress after stopping Lumigan.
The Latisse study, however,
doesn't report any cases of iris color changes. Unlike Lumigan, Latisse isn't
meant to go directly on the eyes, and each Latisse dose uses only 5% of a
The FDA panel also
recommended further studies to assess Latisse's use in certain groups of
patients, such as young patients and people who lost their eyelashes because
of chemotherapy, according to an Allergan news release.
Latisse isn't headed to the market
just yet. The FDA considers, but doesn't always follow, the recommendations of
its advisory panels. And if the FDA approves Latisse, it will be a prescription
drug, not an over-the-counter cosmetic.
Allergan anticipates launching
Latisse in 2009, according to a company news release.
SOURCES:FDA Dermatologic and Ophthalmic Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting:
"Questions to the Advisory Committee."Briefing material, Allergan Inc.News release, Allergan Inc.Prescribing information, Lumigan.
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