Latisse is one of the most talked about products in all of cosmetic surgery. With all that talking, things have gotten a little confusing. I find that many of our patients have a lot of questions about Latisse. In this, and future, posts I’ll give you the answers.
First a disclaimer. We love Latisse. Nancy (Dr. Swartz), was one of the first doctors in the world to use, and teach other doctors, how to use this medication to grow eyelashes. If you would like to read about that, check out this 2007 ABC interview.
Let me tell you the story of Latisse. First there was a glaucoma eyedrop called Lumigan. Lumigan was FDA approved in 2001. Lumigan quickly became extremely popular with ophthalmologists. In fact, it became the most prescribed glaucoma medication in America. Doctors soon discovered that Lumigan and a “side effect”… it made patient’s eyelashes grow like crazy. Soon after that, Nancy had a patient who had a “cosmetic emergency” Nancy’s patient, we’ll call her Judy, was about to go to her reunion. Maybe it was stress, maybe it was just bad luck, but all of the sudden Judy lost about half of her eyelashes. As you might expect, she was really upset. Judy came in for an appointment, and Nancy had an idea. Why not use Lumigan’s effect on eyelashes to help this problem. Judy left with a prescription for Lumigan with instructions to rub a little on her eyelashes with a Q-tip every night. Believe it or not, in a few weeks, Judy’s eyelashes were returning to normal. Soon Nancy was using Lumigan on her own eyelashes, and believe me, her lashes were beautiful. Before you knew it we had a lot of patients rubbing Lumigan on their lashes…..and the results were great! Behind the scenes, Allergan, the company that makes Lumigan was hard at work getting FDA approval for a new product that used Lumigan to grow eyelashes. In December of 2008 a new product was born. It was called Latisse.
Latisse is the exact same medication as Lumigan. The only difference is that it comes in a different package with special brushes to apply the medication to your eyelashes (so you don’t need to use a Q-Tip’s anymore). The fact that Latisse is the same eye medication as Lumigan, means that we have a lot of experience using it around peoples eyes. In fact this medication has been used for over 8 million patient years (number of patients using the medication multiplied by the time those patients used it). If you don’t follow the formula, don’t worry. The important point is that there is a huge amount of experience with this medication. You should also know that there have been hundreds of research studies published about this medicine.
So what have we learned from all of this experience?
- First, we know that Latisse works, for sure. Research shows that about 80% of people who use Latisse had a significant improvement in the appearance of their lashes. Their were longer, thicker and fuller. Some of them even had lashes that were darker. To see a typical before an after photo click here.
- Second we learned that some people mild side effects when they use Latisse. These include temporary redness of the eye, temporary darkening of the eyelid skin and more lashes than you want. All of these problems can be easily managed by your doctor. We’ll talk about how you can avoid and treat those problems in more detail in future posts.
- Then there is the elephant in room when we talk about Latisse. You probably already heard about it. Latisse could possibly make the iris (the colored part of the eye) permanently darker. Most people would not want that to happen. The good news is that the chance of that happening is very unlikely. So unlikely, that we have never met a doctor who has seen that happen from Latisse. Like all risks we take, we need to weigh this one with the facts and I’m going to give you those facts…… in my next post.