Eyelash growth drug supported by FDA panel

December 9, 2008

A U.S. advisory panel said that a prescription eye drug used to treat glaucoma is also safe and effective for adults who want longer, thicker eyelashes.

Rockville, MD-A U.S. advisory panel said that a prescription eye drug used to treat glaucoma is also safe and effective for adults who want longer, thicker eyelashes. First, studied as a reliever of IOP, patients soon began reporting eyelash growth as a side effect.

The company is seeking U.S. approval to market the new use under the brand name Latisse. At the FDA panel meeting, outside advisors agreed that data gathered from use of the drug for (Lumigan, Allergan) showed drops helped boost lashes.

Concerns included that the drug may cause light-colored eyes to turn brown gradually if too much entered the eye. It can also cause eye irritation and darkening of the skin around the eye. Panelists advised the FDA to collect more data after the drug hits the market.

Company officials said most patients did not notice the color change and most side effects were completely reversible when patients stopped using the drops.

The company, in a study of 137 patients who were given the drug and 141 others who were given a placebo, evaluated eyelash use. After 16 weeks, 78 % of patients who got the drug had at least a one-point improvement on a four-point scale ranging from “minimal” to “very marked,” compared with 18 % of placebo patients, an FDA staff review said.

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