Eyelash Growth Linked to Glaucoma Medication

Latanoprost (Xalatan®), a prostaglandin used in eye preparations for glaucoma, has been reported to stimulate eyelash growth. This raises questions as to whether latanoprost may be one of the next agents considered for alopecia.

Eyelash Growth Linked to Glaucoma Medication

Latanoprost (Xalatan®), a prostaglandin used in eye preparations for glaucoma, has been reported to stimulate eyelash growth. This raises questions as to whether latanoprost may be one of the next agents considered for alopecia.

The stimulating effect of this intraocular pressure lowering drug on pigmentation, eyebrow and eyelash growth was documented when it was first introduced on the market in 1997 . This raised hopes throughout the world that a new form of treatment might add to the successes of minoxidil.

Initial studies showed almost a 20% increase in lash length of the lower eyelid. Two of the patients who had no measurable eyelash length change exhibited an increase in the number of eyelashes. Differences in hair appearance between the latanoprost-treated eye and the nontreated control eye included increased number, length, thickness, curvature and pigmentation of lashes.

Subsequent case reports indicated that some patients experienced side effects that include hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) and increased pigmentation of eyelashes. In one study, changes in eyelash characteristics occurred in as many as 57% of treated patients.

Three recent controlled studies that were specifically designed to evaluate the apparent eyelash lengthening effect of latanoprost yielded contradictory results. In one of the studies, 17 patients were treated with latanoprost in one eye and the balance were treated in both eyes. The differences were nonsignificant. However, the latanoprost-treated patients showed a slight tendency toward an increase in eyelash length at a 6-month checkup.

That was unexpectedly good news for the dermatological community, which prompted further experimental research in the field of hair restoration relating to scalp hair growth with patients experiencing androgenic alopecia.


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