Research Summary: Eyelash Enhacements

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Glaucoma drugs that grow lashes:
Ophthalmologists noticed that three commonly used new glaucoma drugs had an unusual side effect of growing lashes longer or growing extra lashes in certain - but no all - patients. The drugs call latanoprost (xalatan), travoprost (travatan) and bimaotoprost (lumigan) are all prostaglandin analogs. They have become the cornerstone of glaucoma therapy. Not only do the drugs grow lashes, they can increase thickness and pigmentation - darkening lashes in some patients. There is a secondary side effect that is not universally welcomed and that is color change of the iris. It does not occur as commonly in very light blue or very dark brown eyes. But in hazel-colored eyes, any of the three prostaglandin analog drugs has the potential to darken the iris color. And the change is permanent. But overall the safety profile of these prostaglandin analog glaucoma drugs is excellent. And the drugs have proven very effective in managing eye pressure for glaucoma patients. Currently UCSF has a clinical trial looking at one of the prostaglandin analogs to treat patients with alopecia, or complete hair loss, of the eyebrows and eyelashes. That study just stopped recruitment and results are expected by the end of the year.

Eyelash products to grow or enhance lashes:
Recently, two eyelash products described as eyelash conditioners have come on the market. Each is applied once nightly along the base of the lash much like an eyeliner. One of them called revitalash claims to grow longer, thicker, fuller lashes in sixty days. The active chemical compound is described only as "lash grow formula." It sells for $149.99 on the web. The second product, called Age Intervention Lash Conditioner, is careful not to make lash-growing claims, but says it can make lashes thicker and better conditioned. It lists a formula very similar to travopost, a prostaglandin analog. But the company clearly is not making claims of lash-growing abilities. It sells for $160.00 on the web. Anecdotal reports list lash growth of up to 1/4 inch, lash thickening and darkening and in a few cases, restoration of eyelashes that had completely disappeared. The only reports of side-effects involve eye irritation in a small percentage of patients that disappears when the product is stopped or switched to the other. Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc. says they conducted their own safety tests. There is no government approval required on these products.

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