What is Latisse?
Latisse® is a prescription medication that is used as a treatment for a condition known as hypotrichosis (inadequte eyelashes). Latisse helps grow eyelashes longer, fuller and darker and has been available since the FDA approved it in December of 2008. The actual formula is bimatoprost 0.03% which was originally used as a glaucoma medication. Patients who used this eye drop to treat glaucoma, and their ophthalmologists, noticed a side effect of longer eyelashes which is what ultimately lead to the development of Latisse, which instead of being instilled in the eye is applied to the lashline of the upper eyelid.
How does Latisse work?
Eyelashes, much like the hair on your head, sprout then grow for a period of time. Unfortunately, they eventually fall out. Latisse extends the growth phase and increases the number of hairs that sprout which helps eyelashes look longer and fuller. There is also a component of Latisse that darkens pigment which is what’s largely responsible for the darkening of theses longer, fuller eyelashes. Visit Latisse’s website for a photo gallery of actual results: http://www.latisse.com/RealWomenGallery.aspx
How is Latisse applied?
Latisse is applied to the lashline of the upper eyelid with the eyes closed using a special applicator that comes with the prescription bottle. Recommended use is once daily, at bedtime. Latisse should NOT be applied to the lower eyelashes and patients should avoid getting the solution in the eye. Here is a video showing the proper application: http://www.latisse.com/HowToApply.aspx
On that same page, you can also download a pdf file of the application guide.
*Contact lens wearers should not apply Latisse while wearing contact lenses. Latisse should be applied before inserting your contact lenses and you should wait at least 15 minutes after application before inserting your contact lenses. *
How long does it take to work?
Patients typically see some results after 3 to 4 weeks, but the full treatment takes 16 weeks. It’s important to note that when you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will eventually return to their normal appearance.
How much does Latisse cost?
The cost of Latisse is approximately $150.00 for a one month supply. Since this is a strictly cosmetic treatment, insurance does not cover it. There are discounts available, especially for first time users, so you should check online or ask your pharmacist about any discount programs before filling your prescription.
Is Latisse effective in the treatment of alopecia?
Alopecia is a condition which causes temporary hair loss. Latisse is not specifically indicated for treatment of alopecia. However, studies have shown that approximately 40% of participants did notice an increase in eyelash growth with the use of Latisse.[i]
Are there any side effects of Latisse?
Yes. The solution can cause the following side effects:
- Itchy, red eye or dry eyes (this can be decreased with proper use so that the solution does not get in the eyes)
- Darkening of the eyelids (this may go away after stopping the medication)
- Darkened brown pigmentation in the colored part of the eye known as the iris. For this reason, we always caution our light-eyed patients of this side effect before starting Latisse, as this side effect is likely to be permanent.
- Hair growth around the eye area (this can also be decreased with proper use so that additional solution does not drip or run off the eyelashes onto the skin around the eyes)
Click the following link for full prescribing information, as well as a more comprehensive list of potential side effects:http://www.allergan.com/assets/pdf/latisse_pi.pdf
Here are some important “Do’s and Don’ts” directly from the Latisse website:
- Do not apply to the lower lid or in the eye and blot excess solution with a tissue.
- Only use the sterile applicators supplied with LATISSE® to apply the product.
- Don’t allow the tip of the bottle or applicator to touch fingers or any other unintended surface, as contamination by common bacteria is known to cause infections.
- Remove contact lenses prior to applying LATISSE®. Contact lenses may be reinserted 15 minutes afterwards.
- Remember, if you stop using LATISSE®, lashes will gradually return to their previous appearance.[ii]
Studies have shown that Latisse is very effective for growing longer, fuller and darker eyelashes. As long as it’s used properly, side effects are minimal. Light eyed patients, however, are cautioned to weigh the pros and the cons of using Latisse before beginning treatment, as one of the potential side effects can be permanent darkening of the iris, which means it can permanently change the color of your eyes to a darker color. As with any prescription medication, you should consult your doctor, in this case your ophthalmologist, before beginning treatment. Still on the fence as to whether or not Latisse is for you? Wondering what you’ll look like with longer eyelashes? There’s an app for that! The iLash Studio app by Allergan actually shows you what you would look like with longer eyelashes. Here’s a link to the app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ilash-studeo/id623512153?mt=8
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