Legal Opinion in regards to the use, dispensing and prescribing of Latisse by Optometrists in California

QUESTION PRESENTED:
Can a licensed optometrist who is TPA-certified prescribe the drug "Latisse" as a treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes?

ANSWER:
No. Based on a review of the Optometry Act, a TPA-certified optometrist may not prescribe the drug "Latisse" as a treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes.

FURTHER ANALYSIS:
On December 26, 2008, Allergan received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% as a treatment for hypotrichosis of the eyelashes – the condition of having inadequate or not enough eyelashes. (2009 International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, 374.55). Latisse is the same formulation as the glaucoma medication Lumigan (bimatoprost 0.03%, Allergan).

Hypotrichosis of the eyelashes is not a condition listed in section 3041(b) that a TPA-certified optometrist may diagnose or treat. Thus, because section 3041(b) does not give a TPA-certified optometrist the ability to treat hypotrichosis of the eyelashes, a TPA-certified optometrist would not be allowed to use or prescribe any TPA to treat this condition. Assuming that a TPA-certified optometrist could diagnose or treat the condition of hypotrichosis of the eyelashes, the drug Latisse does not fit into any of the enumerated categories of TPAs listed in section 3041(b) that a TPA-certified optometrist can use to diagnose or treat hypotrichosis of the eyelashes.

Based on a review of the Business and Professions Code, the Optometry Act is not broad enough to allow an optometrist who is certified to use TPAs to treat hypotrichosis of the eyelashes, and subsequently prescribe Latisse.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Board at 916-575-7170 or email optometry@dca.ca.gov.

Thank you,

California State Board of Optometry