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Latisse Overview

Active Ingredients and Applications

A discussion of how Latisse works isn't complete without a look at its active ingredients. That's going to include some heavy-duty science jargon.

Like Lumigan, the active ingredient in Latisse is bimataprost, a synthetic prostamide analog. Prostamides are a kind of lipid -- a family of fatty molecules. Scientists are still trying to understand exactly how prostamide pharmacology works. While the effects of prostamides on ocular pressure are known, scientists are still exploring the actual mechanisms involved.

What that means is that bimataprost can help decrease pressure within the human eye. Scientists believe it does this by pushing out a substance in the eye called aqueous humor. This liquid fills the space between the cornea and the iris. If there's too much liquid, the resulting pressure can adversely affect vision.

Lumigan takes the form of eye drops, and glaucoma patients apply Lumigan to the appropriate eye once a day. Doctors observed several side effects from daily Lumigan use, including thicker eyelashes after several weeks. How does this happen? Scientists think bimataprost promotes a longer growth period for eyelashes and encourages more hairs to grow from the eyelid. Beyond that, the mechanism of the drug remains a mystery.

The side effect prompted Allergan, the company that produces Lumigan, to create Latisse. Unlike Lumigan, customers using Latisse apply the drug directly to the upper eyelid using an approved applicator. Since Latisse uses the same active ingredient as Lumigan, customers could experience similar side effects. That includes increased pigmentation of the eyelid as well as the risk of the iris itself growing darker.