What is Bimatoprost?


What is Bimatoprost? This question might have been the first thought you had after discovering Careprost or Latisse, which all use Bimatoprost as their active ingredient. 

Bimatoprost is part of a group lipid compounds called prostaglandin. Originally it was used as an eye drop to control the progression of glaucoma, an eye disease which results in damage to the optic nerve, and to manage ocular hypertension.

In 2001, pharmaceutical giant Allergan was approved by the FDA to use Bimatoprost as the active ingredient in it's medicine Lumigan. However during clinical trials, patients noticed that one of the side effects of using Lumigan was that their eyelashes were growing. And naturally, Allergan capitalized on this unintentional side effect by rebranding the same medicine as Latisse. 

The FDA approved Latisse for cosmetic use in 2008. The difference here is that since Latisse is considered a cosmetic item, it will not be covered by any insurance, which means buyers will have to shell out $130 per bottle. Besides branding, the only thing that Allergan changed with Latisse is how it's applied. Instead of putting a drop into your eye, you have to put it on a disposable brush, then apply it to the root of your eyelash. (Do not apply to lower lid).

Bimatoprost is not suitable for everyone. Users with sensitive eyes may experience some side effects. Common side effects include itchy and red eyes. If discontinued, lashes gradually return to previous appearance.

Is Bimatoprost safe to use for a normal healthy adult? Short answer, yes. The slightly longer version - since bimatoprost was designed to be used for application directly into the eye, it is also safe to use on just the eyelash as well. The FDA does extensive testing on products such as Latisse to ensure the safety of the general public. 

So what's the takeaway from all of this? 

  1. Bimatoprost was originally intended for glaucoma patients.
  2. It caused longer eyelashes as a side effect.
  3. Allergan rebrands their pharmaceutical product as a cosmeceutical.
  4. Now cosmeceuticals use it as the active ingredient for eyelash growth.
  5. Bimatoprost is clinically proven to grow longer eyelashes.