FDA OKs 1st Eyelash Drug Latisse

Published in: News

If you could get substantially longer, thicker, darker lashes, but the process risked permanently darkening your irises, would you still do it?


Earlier this month, the FDA approved the very first drug for use promoting eyelash growth, according to Allergan, the company that makes the drug.

Latisse, available by prescription early in 2009, contains the same active ingredient in the glaucoma drug Lumigan, which is also made by Allergan.

Eyelash growth has long been a known side effect of Lumigan, so Allergan figured they’d take advantage of the side effect, repurposing Lumigan as Latisse.

While Lumigan is an eyedrop, Latisse gets dabbed along the lash line on the upper eyelids, where it goes to work promoting longer, thicker, darker lashes.

How well does it work?

Allergan claims that Latisse users can expect longer, fuller and darker eyelashes in as little as eight weeks, with full results in 16 weeks, and one clinical study involving 278 adult patients (here’s the product information PDF) backs up the claim.

After 16 weeks, participants in the trial saw an average of 25% longer and 106% thicker lashes than before. Unfortunately, once treatment stopped, the effects began to subside, with eyelashes gradually returning to normal as new ones grew in.

A side effect with some side effects…

Back to its side effects, Latisse has some doozies worth mentioning. The product may cause darkening of the eyelids, a potentially reversible condition, but even worse, it might make your irises turn brown (iris pigmentation), and if that happens, it’s likely to be permanent.

The company says the drug may also promote hair growth upon skin areas that come in frequent contact with Latisse. Note to self: do not blot Latisse on your upper lip, LOL!


According to Allergan, Latisse was well-tolerated in its clinical trials, with the most common side effects being eye redness, itchy eyes and skin hyperpigmentation.

I don’t plan to test Latisse, but I’d like to hear from anyone who does.

Beyond its use for cosmetic reasons, the drug might be a huge help to people who’ve lost their lashes to disease or chemotherapy.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 13 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Joanne says:

    Well, my bf’s brother had juvenile glaucoma in one eye, and with this medication, his eyelashes grew so long and lush, it was so thick and long like you wouldn’t believe it. But only in the eye being medicated. I didn’t notice any side effects, in anyhow, we are asians, so the dark irises are already there. I was actually surprised that no one has marketed it yet, I know many of our friends were very interested when they found out that the glaucoma drug was causing it.

  2. claudia says:

    My dad was taking Lumigan for his Glaucoma until recently, and it actually gave him dark circles under his eyes. The dark circles really bothered him, and he didn’t even know that it was the Lumigan that was causing it! My dad is not one to care much about his appearance (except for hygiene!), and he explored so many options for getting rid of the circles, including a visit to his GP and a referral to a dermatologist, so you can imaging how much he disliked these circles! For reference, my dad is Mexican and his skin tone is medium-dark (not sure if that has anything to do with Lumigan sensitivity, but just FYI).

    Personally, I would rather continue to use mascaras and other products instead of having to OD on under eye concealer if I had the same kind of reaction…

  3. lesley says:

    I can understand if people want to take the drug to repair lost eyelashes from other illnesses or chemo, but I’m not sure if I would personally use Latisse. Both my parents being doctors I’m already super paranoid about anything I put into my body, so as much as I wish my puny Asian lashes could be lushed-out, I guess my remedy will still be eyelash primer and mascara.

  4. Nora says:

    I agree. This sounds like a great option who are ill or had an accident in the eye area, but…geez, iris pigmentation?! No thank you, I’ll keep my light eyes forever and ever. 🙂 Fascinating, though.

  5. Tiera says:

    Wowzers, it doesn’t seem at all like it’s worth the trouble it might cause. I don’t mind the few minutes I’d have to spend with my eyelash curler and mascara, or even the few extra minutes to apply falsies… I think I’ll stick to those!

  6. Miss QQ says:

    Hi Karen. I already have dark brown irises LOL. I wouldn’t try it because I can live with my stubby lashes or use mascara/false lashes when I want a dramatic look. I think it is good for those who lost their lashes due to diseases or chemotherapy.

  7. Catherine says:

    Hmm… my eyelashes are actually not that short/stubby for being Asian, they just don’t curl at all (in pictures it looks like I’m wearing eyeliner even when I’m totally makeup free) so… I doubt this would really do anything for me. They are thin, but I imagine that would only make the eyeliner look worse, lol. I also have really sensitive skin/eyes, so I don’t think I’d ever try this.

    Also, being in a science major, I am just really skeptical at repurposing a drug used to treat one disease and using it for its side effects… I am really interested to see what it’s mechanism of action is and I’m pretty sure I’d do a whole lot of research into this before I let anyone I know try it.

    I bet a lot of people who’ve ripped out their eyelashes from curling them w/ dry mascara would be interested in this though. I totally understand how this would help chemo patients, and I imagine most people can sympathize with how much it would suck to lose your eyelashes for whatever reason.

  8. Brittnie says:

    I’d be interested in trying this, but I’m one of those people who waits a few years before trying a new drug. I know they do clinical trials, but I like to see how people react once the drug goes mainstream.

  9. Lucy says:

    I am not a Latisse user, but I do use Revitalash and I seriously love what it has done for me! It seems like this product is a bit harsher than other eyelash growth products if you need a perscription to use it. Not to mention, WHAT A PAIN IN THE BUTT!! Why would I go to the doctor for a drug when I can get that same thing over the counter?

  10. Mandy says:

    I know someone who uses lumigan because of an eye condition, he only had to use it in 1 eye – the difference between the lashes on each eye is unbelievable.. this drug has made 1 set of eyelashes look like dramatic fake luscious eyelashes.
    However ( a big however), the side effects aren’t very pretty. His upperlid and undereye in that eye have become so dark and purple, and there is more hair growth under that eye as well (when you sleep, some of it will seep and come into contact with surrounding skin). That one eye is also more red than the other eye. Remember there always has to be some sort of “tradeoff” in beauty! You may achieve the long beautiful eyelashes you’ve been lusting for, but you’ll also inherit some ghastly features. I reckon each person will react to it differently, but its good to beware of such potential side-effects!

  11. scarlett says:

    im very intrested in using these i used to us fake eyelashes but they ripped half of my own out now. does anyone know where i can buy tem form in the uk so i can at least try them??? thanks …..

  12. Janice says:

    I’m Asian, with fairly long lashes for an Asian, and have been using Latisse for about a month now. I believe that it will take about 8 to 12 weeks to really see a difference in my lashes (in thickness and length), so I’m sticking with it. You don’t put Latisse if your eye, you use an eyeliner brush to apply it to your upper lash line once a day (like you would apply liquid eyeliner). Because the application area is very limited, I have not seen any noticable difference in color changes to my eyelids or have had any additional redness in my eyes. Again, since the drops are not put directly in your eyes, and are only applied sparingly to the upper lashline, there should be no major side affects by using this product as recommended. I will use it for two more months to see final results, then decide whether this is something I’ll continue with in the long-term (for maintenance).

  13. Julie says:

    Used it for 8 weeks and started to get red upper eyelids and dark red and purple under my eyes (dark circles). I tend to think Latisse works by increasing blood flow to the eyelids. I can even see a lot of fine veins that appeared in my upper eyelids. If you look carefully at some untouched before and after photos, you will see that I’m not the only one who’s eyelid veins become more pronounced! I also believe its making the veins on the sclera (whites) of my eyes stand out more as well!! If you use it, better buy some concealer too!

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