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FDA approves Glaucoma Medication to grow Eye lashes

US FDA advisory committee has unanimously voted to recommend FDA to approve a glaucoma medication Bimatoprost ophthalmic solution, trade named LATISSE for the purpose of growing eyelashes, as a treatment for hypotrichosis (or reduced amount of hair) of the eyelashes. The drug Bimatoprost is already used as a glaucoma medication under the trade name LUMIGAN. One of the unexpected side effects of lumigan therapy was found to be long and thick eye lashes.

The company (Allergan) that markets Lumigan is planning to market the eye lash growing medication under the brand name Latisse. While Lumigan is applied as eye drops, Latisse is to be applied with an applicator on the base of the eye lashes. There are concerns of safety, with possibility of teenagers using more than the required amount. Other well-known side effects of Lumigan include darkening (pigmentation) of eye color, eyelid skin and eyelashes. Pigmentation changes can increase as long as lumigan is used. After stopping lumigan, darkening of eye color is likely to be permanent while darkening of the eyelid skin and eyelash changes may be reversible. Also the effects of increased darkening beyond 5 years are not known. It is not clear if using latisse will result in the darkening of the eye color but Dr.Robert Cykiert, an ophthalmologist at the New York Medical College, who appeared in the CBS news said that using an applicator to apply the drug just to the base of the lashes might reduce the amount of drug reaching the eye. Furthermore he said he doesn’t have a problem in using it for cosmetic purposes as the original drug is used for 7-8 years as glaucoma medication and there are very few known side effects so far.

Lumigan’s drug safety information mentions that if both eyelashes are not treated equally, it may result in differences between the eyes in eyelash length, thickness, darkness, and number of eyelashes and/or direction of eyelash growth. From a medical point of view, the good thing is these changes except the darkening of the eye color are usually reversible upon stopping the therapy. This happens to be its disadvantage from the cosmetic point of view; you need to keep applying the medication to keep your eyelashes long. Once you stop it, you are going to loose all the lashes that grew up under the influence of the medication. Other common side effects mentioned in the safety information for lumigan include eye redness and itchy eyes.

The advisory committee has also approved post-marketing studies to assess use in certain patient populations, including patients of younger age and post-chemotherapy patients with loss of eyelashes.

If the FDA gives complete approval, allergan plans to launch latisse in 2009 for cosmetic use.

Update Dec 26,2008
Allergan, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved LATISSE(TM) (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% as a novel treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes (ie to treat small, thin and inadequate eye lashes)

More information can be found from the following sites.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLFD8w7uSio
http://agn.client.shareholder.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=352776
http://www.allergan.com/
http://www.lumigan.com/
http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/news/20081205/fda-eyes-eyelash-boosting-drug

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Date: 
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Author Name: 
R