As of August 2010, Latisse was the only prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of thin eyelashes. Other products may condition or enhance the appearance of eyelashes, but Latisse is the only medication that helps eyelashes grow.
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The active ingredient of Latisse is bimatoprost. Bimatoprost is classified as a prostaglandin agonist. This ingredient was first used in a medication for glaucoma called Lumigan. Patients taking Lumigan often experienced eyelash growth, darkening and thickening, which inspired the creation of Latisse. Inactive ingredients include sodium chloride, dibasic, benzalkonium chloride, sodium phosphate, citric acid and purified water, according to Latisse prescribing information.
Lattise is applied once a day to the base of the upper eyelashes. The Latisse package comes with multiple applicators. Each is sterile and designed for single use. Applicators should be discarded after each use to prevent any eye infection or allergic reaction, according to the All About Vision website. Longer, darker and fuller eyelashes usually appear in eight weeks, with full results in approximately 16 weeks, according to Drugs.com. Latisse should not be applied to the lower eyelashes, as this may increase the risk of hair growth on the skin around the eyes.
Latisse may cause hair growth on other areas of the skin, so those using the product should follow directions carefully. Any excess solution should be immediately blotted with a tissue to reduce the risk of unwanted facial hair growth.
The effects of Lattise are not permanent. Continual use is required to maintain longer, darker and fuller eyelashes. When use is discontinued eyelashes return to their previous state in a period of a few weeks to a few months, according to Latisse prescribing information.
The most common side effects of Latisse are eye itching and redness, which occurred in approximately 4 percent of patients in clinical trials, according to the Latisse prescribing information. Eyelids may become red, and eyes may become dry. Brown pigmentation may also occur on the colored part of the eye. Unlike other side effects, the brown eye pigmentation will not disappear when use is discontinued.
Those with a history of elevated intraocular pressure and those taking Lumigan or other eye drops for glaucoma should consult their ophthalmologists before using this product. Use by these people requires close monitoring. Those with a history of allergies or skin sensitivities should also talk to their doctors before using Latisse. Anyone who experiences conjunctivitis, an eyelid reaction or vision changes should contact a doctor as soon as possible.