The story behind Latisse eyelash enhancement is interesting, yet somewhat familiar in the pharmaceutical industry. Drugs often make their way to the market inadvertently, and some become hugely popular for uses that were never intended. Such is the case with Latisse eyelash enhancement, one of the latest offerings from Allergan Inc.
The origin of Latisse is in topical prostaglandins, drugs frequently used to decrease intra-ocular pressure in glaucoma patients. In patients who used these prostaglandins, researchers and physicians documented a ‘complication’ or side effect called “hypertrichosis,” a condition characterized by darkening, thickening, and lengthening of the eyelashes.
The Food and Drug Administration gave clearance for Allergan to market a glaucoma drug (and topical prostaglandin) called Lumigan in 2001, at which point two important precursors to Latisse occurred.
- The FDA seized over 2 million dollars worth of product from Jan Marini Skin Research Inc because the products – Age Intervention Eyelash – contained the same chemical formula as Lumigan, which had not yet been approved for cosmetic use.
- Doctors began prescribing Lumigan off-label to patients who wanted enhanced eyelashes.
After clinical trials and further research, Allergan received FDA clearance for cosmetic use of Latisse. In one study, 278 healthy adults with minimal to moderate eyelash prominence applied Latisse or a placebo to their lash line. The results were favorable; researchers observed “statistically significant differences in eyelash growth and resulting patient satisfaction” while only 3.6 percent experienced itchy eyes and redness, and only 2.9 percent experienced hyperpigmentation on the surrounding skin.