At the beginning of this year, I published a detailed post on Allergan’s Bimatoprost product. In that post, I stated the following:
My feeling is that Bimatoprost may result in slightly superior results to Minoxidil, but nothing extraordinary.
I am pleased as well as disappointed to say that I was correct (read the rest of this post). At the end of January 2015, Allergan finished its phase II clinical trials regarding using Bimatoprost to treat scalp hair loss.
Update: January 18, 2022 — Preparation of topical Bimatoprost with enhanced skin infiltration for hair growth.
Allergan Releases Bimatoprost Results
On November 4, Allergan published two interesting pdfs on its website (can no longer be downloaded). On pages 16 and 17 of one of those pdfs, there is a surprising and unexpected summary of the initial results of using Bimatoprost to treat people with hair loss. I am assuming that these results are from the earlier mentioned clinical trials.
Update: March 2016 official safety and efficacy clinical trial results.
It seems like Bimatoprost 1% and Bimatoprost 3% both result in slightly superior hair growth in comparison to Minoxidil 5%. This is based on an “Expert Panel Review” and based on an “Investigator Global Assessment.” Hopefully the experts and investigators involved in those reviews are unbiased and not employed or funded by Allergan.
Funnily enough, Bimatoprost 1% has slightly better results than the higher dose Bimatoprost 3% according to the “Expert Panel Review”. However, the “Investigator Global Assessment” finds the opposite to be true as one would have expected. When it comes to actual volunteer opinions based on non-scientific self-assessments, Minoxidil results seemed to be slightly better than Bimatoprost results.
We Have Become Spoilt
The overall mood of hair loss forum members regarding this news has been slightly pessimistic per my analysis. This is a bit surprising considering that to date there have only ever been two FDA approved drugs to treat hair loss on the market: Finasteride and Minoxidil. Bimatoprost will match or slightly exceed the results of one of those two (Minoxidil), and work via a different mechanism.
Just a few years ago, millions of people around the world were delighted that Minoxidil (Rogaine brand) was finally released in a foam version. The old liquid version was extremely irritating for many people and often dripped down people’s foreheads. Last year, women were also pleased that Rogaine had finally released a 5% version for females. All in all, there are numerous people out there who find Minoxidil to be very useful to slow their hair loss progression and sometimes even halt it entirely. I hope that Bimatoprost finds similar success.
At the same time, I can also understand some of the pessimism. In today’s extremely fast paced world, groundbreaking medical and technological advances are announced on a weekly basis (and popular smartphone brands come out with new versions every year). Many hair loss sufferers expect a 100 percent foolproof hair loss cure immediately. Nothing less is worth getting excited over.
While not particularly impressed by these results, I am still pleased that we could finally have a third FDA approved weapon in the fight against hair loss. And one that acts via an entirely different mechanism (prostamide F2α analog) to Finasteride or Minoxidil. With hopefully even fewer side effects.
Bimatoprost and Allergan Notes
— Even if Bimatoprost does consistently produce superior results to Minoxidil with no significant side effects, we are still at least 2-3 years away from actual product release. However, lower dose versions of Bimatoprost have already been in use for eyelash growth (via the brand name Latisse) for a few years now. I am guessing that some hair loss forum members will continue to try to make their own higher dose versions and play around with topical delivery mechanisms for the scalp. Do note that the current cost of Bimatoprost makes it very prohibitive at higher doses.
— In my post on Allergan from a month ago, I was thinking that it was worth buying the company’s stock. Since then, AGN has gone up by 10 percent. The main reason for this is due to the fact that the world’s largest drug company, Pfizer, has recently expressed interest in purchasing Allergan for $160 billion.
The primary reason given is that Pfizer would then benefit by drastically lowering its tax bill by adopting Allergan’s headquarters in Ireland. The US corporate tax rate is 35%, while Ireland’s corporate tax rate is 12.5%. However, it remains to be seen if the US government will allow Pfizer to get even bigger than it already is and also pay far less taxes to Uncle Sam. Update: Merger plans cancelled in 2016.
— Allergan plans to commence further clinical trials for Bimatoprost on scalp hair in the first quarter of 2016.