Latisse is perfectly safe, right?
An article by Catherine Saint Louis writing in The New York Times recounts the tale of one woman's sad misadventure with Latisse® (Allergan) and presents a disturbing profile of several doctors and nurses "doing a ton of business" selling the drug online without seeing patients.
In case you haven't heard, Latisse is the new eyelash enhancer from the maker of BOTOX Cosmetic®. Everybody is talking about it.
So it must be perfectly safe, right? Wrong.
Like the idea of eyelids turned purple, blue eyes turned brown, eyelashes curled against your eyes, reactivating dormant eye inflammation, or watching hair start to sprout along your upper cheek?
Despite such risks, you can likely obtain the drug either online or at your local health spa without so much as an examination or even a prescription.
While widely used and generally considered very safe when prescribed and supervised by a physician (preferably an eye specialist), some medications ordered online or obtained outside of a pharmacy may be adulterated, diluted, or even fake.
“When it’s something so critical as vision, you don’t want to cut corners,” said Dr. Andrew Iwach, an ophthalmologist in San Francisco. "The consequences, or risk of consequences, add up over time."
The patient whose story is featured apparently obtained the real thing from the woman who does her facials and just happened to work in the office of a plastic surgeon. With the medication came no exam, medical history, or "mention of a single risk."
According to Carmen A. Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, “When the F.D.A. approved this product for marketing, they made a determination that the side effects or misuse or inappropriate use could cause harm, and that’s why they restricted it to a prescription drug. If it was completely safe to use without doctor supervision, they would have deemed it over-the-counter.”
Seemingly harmless black market pharmaceuticals can cause plenty of serious problems, as can the bona fide products when used incorrectly and without professional monitoring.