A new prescription product from Allergan, of Irvine, Calif, has been shown to promote eyelash growth.

However, according to the Cosmetic Surgery Times, oculoplasts have some reservations about the drug Latisse, a bimatoprost ophthalmic solution (0.03 percent). Citing their concern over side effects, they say more research needs to be done before feeling fully confident in non-eye specialists monitoring the drug’s use without seeking consult with an oculoplast.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Latisse in December for treating eyelash hypotrichosis. Bimatoprost initially received FDA approval in 2001 for lowering intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

In a phase 3 study, 278 adults with minimal or moderate eyelash prominence applied either Latisse or a placebo to both upper eyelid margins once a night for 16 weeks.

“More than 78 percent of patients in the Latisse group — compared with slightly more than 18 percent in the placebo group — experienced at least a one-grade increase in overall eyelash prominence at the end of the treatment period,” said Steven Fagien, M.D., a Boca Raton, Fla., aesthetic oculoplastic surgeon and study investigator.

The product achieved more than 100 percent mean improvement over baseline for eyelash thickness and was well tolerated by patients, Fagien said.

Side effects included initial redness and lid-margin irritation as a result of overuse. Latisse’s label warns of possible changes in iris pigmentation, but researchers have not observed such changes.

Stuart R. Seiff, M.D., emeritus professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco and the 2009 president of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, said he was concerned about the pigmentation-change side effect. He also sees a potential problem in the fact that the Latisse trials only dealt with upper eye lashes.

“I served as one of the ophthalmic examining centers for the Latisse study, and I should point out that, to my understanding, this study was to determine efficacy — not safety — for lash growth in patients with thin lashes,” he told the Cosmetic Surgery Times. “Although not found in the study, I still feel that patients with light irises run the risk of increased iris pigmentation and eye-color change — they should be cautioned in this regard as part of informed consent. In the study, patients only put the medication on the upper lashes, trying to limit ocular exposure. Use on the lower lashes is off label, but we are sure patients are going to do it — and the effects of this application are unknown.

“Given the limited problems encountered in the study patients, however, I think it is reasonable for non-ophthalmologists to prescribe Latisse to their patients, with the previously mentioned cautions,” he said.

[Source: Cosmetic Surgery Times]