Latisse side effects surprise users who bought it off-prescription

Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields

The pharmaceutical company known for beauty products such as Botox and Natrelle breast implants now faces unwelcome attention prompted by the way its new drug created for people who want longer, lusher eyelashes is being sold, and the side effects it causes.

A number of consumers say they weren't properly forewarned about side effects from Latisse, promoted in TV commercials by Brooke Shields. They include red and itchy skin, eyelid discoloration, and rarely but sometimes irreversibly, a change in eye color -- from green or blue to brown. Latisse may also cause hair growth in unintended areas, such as the cheek, if the drug applicator is accidentally dabbed onto the skin.

Allergan sold more than a million bottles of Latisse since its launch a little over a year ago. Pulling in proponents from the clinical and cosmetic camps of medicine, Latisse has sparked enough interest to become a borderline blockbuster drug. It is also the only science-based treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration to enhance eyelashes.