Prostaglandin analog stimulates eyelash follicles

March 1, 2011

The approval of the prostaglandin analog Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution 0.03 percent) represents a major advance in offering a solution for cosmetic enhancement of eyelashes, according to a professor of dermatology, director of the cosmetic and laser division, Saint Louis University, St. Louis.

Key Points

St. Louis - The approval of the prostaglandin analog Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution 0.03 percent) represents a major advance in offering a solution for cosmetic enhancement of eyelashes, according to a professor of dermatology, director of the cosmetic and laser division, Saint Louis University, St. Louis.

"As a prostaglandin analog, it (Latisse) stimulates the hair follicles to enter and prolong the growing phase or anagen phase," says Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., who was one of the investigators who participated in the trial examining the efficacy and safety of Latisse.

While 90 percent of all scalp hairs are in the growing phase at any time, less than half of eyelash hairs are in the anagen phase at a specific point in time.

Latisse results

In Dr. Glaser's experience with patients, she says they begin to see results from their use of Latisse as soon as four weeks of application of the topical therapy. Patients see the full effect, including the darkening and thickening of eyelashes, after 12 to 16 weeks.

"Lashes look longer, darker and fuller," Dr. Glaser says. "My patients love it. A lot of them say they don't have to use mascara because of their use of Latisse."

In addition, before the availability of Latisse, many women used false eyelashes and developed allergic reactions to the glue used to apply the lashes, Dr. Glaser says.

Lashes also look darker because the prostaglandin analog stimulates pigment production, she says.

One of the benefits of Latisse is that it is user-friendly, Dr. Glaser says. A single drop is brushed along the eyelid margin like an eyeliner. If used according to the product monograph, one prescription will last a patient about one month.

Clinical trials

A clinical trial examining the impact of using Latisse in cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy, to determine whether patients' eyelashes would grow back faster and better with the product, has been completed.

The drug is being studied in pediatric cancer patients to assess whether Latisse will stimulate faster growth of eyelashes in children who have undergone chemotherapy.

"It will be conducted similar to the adult trial," Dr. Glaser says. Results from the adult trial cannot necessarily be extrapolated to the pediatric population, she says, so children need to be studied separately.

Some patients are using the therapy in an off-label fashion to grow their outer eyebrows, Dr. Glaser says.