It was announced in a press release by Allergan Inc. on 12/3/08 that the drug Lumigan, currently approved to treat glaucoma, is close to FDA approval for cosmetic use as an eyelash growth enhancer for upper lashes – but don’t get excited if you have extensive loss due to AA. It had been discovered in clinical studies that a side effect in glaucoma patients was the growth of longer, darker and fuller lashes. The FDA posted a review of the drug on its Web site Wednesday ahead of a Friday review by an outside panel of medical experts. The advisory panel is being asked to vote on whether it thinks Latisse ( the proposed brand name) should be approved. The FDA usually follows its panels’ advice. If approved, the product would be the first FDA-approved product sold for eyelash enhancement.
Two pilot studies were done with alopecia areata volunteers at the University of California San Francisco using Lumigan or Xalatan on patients with greater than 50 percent eyelash loss and concluded that it was not effective. No study has yet been done on AA patients with less than 50 percent loss. These pilot studies were a joint effort of the UCSF departments of dermatology and opthalmology with principal investigators Drs. Price and Stamper.
And as with all drugs, there will be risks and the potential for serious side effects in some people.