Eyelash growth drug

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new prescription drug, Latisse, for lengthening eyelashes. The active ingredient in the drug was first used to treat glaucoma. Then the manufacturer, Allergan, realized that one of the side effects, eyelash growth, was marketable. From Scientific American:
The med... should be available by March from a doctor or with a prescription from one. Price tag: $120 for a month’s supply. According to manufacturer Allergan, the drug usually nets results two to four months after users start it. Potential side effects: Some 4 percent of users experience eye itching and redness, and it may also temporarily darken the skin of the eyelid, according to the company...

It's not clear exactly why Latisse promotes eyelash growth, but the company speculates that the drug may increase the length and amount of hair that sprouts during the growth cycle. It’s possible that the drug may also spur eyebrow and scalp hair growth, doctors told the Wall Street Journal. But Allergan spokesperson Heather Katt says the company hasn't explored using Latisse for those purposes.
New eyelash-lengthening drug approved


  1. All the recent cool-yet-legal lifestyle drugs are accidental side-effects that marketing departments live for.

    * Minoxidil was originally developed a vasodilator medication for high blood pressure.
    * Sildenafil was originally developed as a medication for hypertension and angina.
    * Finasteride was originally developed as a medication for enlarged prostate.
    * Bremelanotide (PT-141) originates with synthetic hormone for tanning without UV exposure.

    Sometimes this gets a little silly (as marketing departments are wont to do), such as with Restless Leg Syndrome.

    (Also, notice the seemingly male-slanted FDA approval of lifestyle drugs.)

    Now, imagine if drug companies had the will (and legal latitude) to pursue development of recreational drugs directly.

  2. If they don’t even know whether this drug makes your hair and eyebrows grow too, how has it gotten through FDA approval? I thought they held new medicines for years, doing all the tests under the sun..

  3. Now, imagine if drug companies had the will (and legal latitude) to pursue development of recreational drugs directly.

    Oh. My. God.

  4. My grandmother (with glaucoma) uses this stuff every day…it does increase eyelash length…but also increases the number of ingrown eyelashes. Talk about NO fun…The eye dr. has to pull them out of her eye at least once a month.

  5. So, wait a minute… does this mean that the treatment of glaucoma is now a side-effect?

    #4 – No, they just test them to make sure they don’t kill more people than the rules permit. I mean, hell, they allow acne medication that lists suicide as a side effect…

  6. How about a drug that’ll make all the hair below your neck fall out?

    That’d sell like hotcakes… unless it made the hair above your neck fall out too. Patients would look like the movie version of Voldemort, sans the freaky nose.

  7. How about a drug that’ll make all the hair below your neck fall out?

    Laser hair removal already exists for that market. Sorta like how breast implant surgery significantly reduced the market for a possible breast enlargement drug. If there was a viable penis enlargement surgery, guys wouldn’t be duped by all those spamvertisements either.

    Myostatin blockers are an interesting drug / gene therapy in development for people desiring bigger muscles, though.

    So, wait a minute… does this mean that the treatment of glaucoma is now a side-effect?

    I know something else that’s a good treatment for glaucoma…

    Treatment of glaucoma is is now a side-effect of that something else. :p

  8. My eyelashes have always been significantly longer than normal. Maybe I should submit a sample of my DNA for testing to aid in the development of a designer gene therapy, and charge royalties.

  9. If I’d lost my eyelashes when my eyebrows and bangs singed off, I’d definitely be in the market.

    But as I didn’t, I can’t find any reason which would ever compel me to purchase such a thing at such a price (and I’m talking about ingrown eyelashes here more than money.)

  10. RE: Myostatin — Heart attack city. The problem I’ve read about with this is that the heart, itself being a muscle, will also increase in size, which is the quickest route to an aortic aneurysm, especially if your combining your iron pumping with even moderate cardio — which you should be. Not too cool.

  11. I look forward to the day when our desires for longer eyelashes are finally realised! I have a vision of the future where all women have a clearance zone of at least 4 metres in front of them so they can blink without their eyelashes engulfing some poor unsuspecting soul…

  12. “If they don’t even know whether this drug makes your hair and eyebrows grow too, how has it gotten through FDA approval? I thought they held new medicines for years, doing all the tests under the sun..”

    Patent laws…
    If someone develops a drug, then later develops another use for said drug, they can maintain patents on the original drug.
    So it’s in the best interest of whatever drug company to actually NOT investigate uses of drugs. They’ll “discover” them later when the patents are about to expire.

  13. Brought to you by the company that brings you Botox (seriously!)

    Ugh. I had a fantasy this morning about having a certification program for folks who are “all-natural”, no plastic surgery, drug-free, etc. Ah, pure fantasy…

  14. See, all you naysayers? Science will resolve all of our problems (with priority given to pointless, and possibly dangerous, “cures” for superficial issues). So, just sit back, relax, and enjoy progress. All hail Science!

  15. I have glaucoma, and while this stuff did thicken and lengthen my lashes, it also made some of them curl backwards, which meant they poked me in the eyeball, and the skin around my eyes was noticeably darker. I had to switch to a different medication.

    I couldn’t figure out from the article how this drug is administered. As a glaucoma medication it comes as an eye drop, but I wonder if this will be a cream or something.

  16. So, all the lifestyle drug snark aside, isn’t this actually great news for sufferers of alopecia?

    I mean, I work at a cancer hospital, so I’m perfectly aware that alopecia is one of the most distressing side-effects of chemotherapy, and I’m pretty sure that this drug has the potential to be a godsend for people struggling to cope with or recover from total hair loss due to their cancer treatment.

    Of course, treatment for prostate cancer almost invariably causes ED, so one could (and many *do*) make the same argument for Viagra. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that people seem to jump to snark at “lifestyle” drugs awful quickly, when there are real people suffering from *very* real conditions that certainly warrant treatment.

  17. @25: I’m not sure if this would conquer alopecia, at least while the patient is still on radiation or chemo therapy. If your hair follicles are being killed off, they’ll never get a chance to grow long and lush (or ingrow, small benefit there).

    It could be a potential boon to help the patient recover quicker, but considering that (usually) the patients hair starts regrowing on their own, I’m not sure the 2-4 month start-up time is going to be helpful. How much would the p/t’s hair already have recovered in that time, and if started immediately after the cessation of therapy, how responsive is their hair going to be anyways?

    Which is unfortunate, I’ve watched both my parents go through acute chemo and radiation therapy, and I’m basically looking at a guarenteed future of cancer somewhen in the next 30 years. I’m going to be totally disturbed every time I pass a mirror, and see a total stranger staring back at me. Hopefully before I have to do the rounds, they’ll have improved the treatments so it doesn’t happen in the first place, rather than having to dump even MORE chemicals in my body while it’s struggling to get over the first invasion.

  18. I honestly don’t have an answer for the question of whether it’s necessarily “worth it” for chemotherapy-induced alopecia, honestly, it was just that alopecia was where my thoughts first went when I read the article. It *is* true, however, that there are other causes of alopecia out there, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if this drug *could* be effective for some. I was mainly trying to make a point about peoples’ assumptions and lifestyle drugs, though.

    As far as your family history, youch. That’s got to be really tough. The doctor I work most closely with is a geneticist with the gyn service, so he sees a lot of screening patients and patients who have gotten prophylactic surgery. The certainty, or near-certainty, of cancer must be really tough to live with; I can’t imagine what it’s like for some of the younger women to come through our service, who are basically told that they need to have children by the time they’re 30, or not at all.

  19. @#1: “Also, notice the seemingly male-slanted FDA approval of lifestyle drugs.”

    No, I didn’t notice. Is there a list somewhere that supports this? The one you gave is a pretty small sample, where 2 are for men. I would say eyelash drugs appeal to women, so that’s only 1 less than men. Are you seriously suggesting the FDA is sexist?

  20. #22: For those looking to have their Soylent Green “all-natural”, no plastic surgery, drug-free?

  21. Zuzu:

    but doesn’t laser hair removal require multiple treatments over a period of time to remove large patches?

    … and doesn’t it leave sensitive burns?

    Considering the time investment and the expense, I bet a lot of people would prefer a pill.

  22. I am very happy with LashMantra. It is an organic lash growth serum and not a drug so I am not worried about its side effects.

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