Topical prostaglandin agents are used to help reduce eye pressure in glaucoma patients.
Bimatoprost (Lumigan 0.01%) is such an agent (Allergan, Inc.). Several of our patients on
bimatoprost and an observational study of patients on bimatoprost in another center reported
that fingernails grew longer and became less brittle using the topical eye drops to the
eyes. The purpose of the double-blinded study is to determine whether the application of the
eye drops directly to the proximal nail fold of one hand using the opposite hand as a
control will result in longer nails, less brittle nails, and reduced eye pressures should
any of the medication be absorbed into the systemic circulation.
In addition to our observations with topical bimatoprost on fingernail growth, Wand and
colleagues applied bimatoprost to the base of the fingernails demonstrating a 16.9% increase
in fingernail growth from baseline, and a 10.4% increase from baseline on untreated nail
beds. Other than these two reports, there are no studies addressing this topic to our
knowledge based on a Medline search for off-label use of this drug. Other relevant studies
have addressed increased hair and eyelash growth with the prostaglandin agents. Researching
the biochemistry of the relationship of prostaglandins to hair and nail growth, the final
common pathway appears to be with protein kinase C and the production of tropocollagens. The
dermatology literature has demonstrated that both hair and nail keratocytes reside in the
nail bed suggesting that increased collagen production may enhance the growth of both the
nail bed and nail plate, possibly reducing nail brittleness.
- English speaking
- Normotensive or glaucoma suspects on no ocular medications
- No manicure within 2 weeks of the study.
- Individuals on topical or systemic essential fatty acids (EFA's) in hand lotions,
creams, ointments, or medication, or on biotin.
- Digits with signs of nail injury, deformity, or infection.
- Nail biters, nail polishers, artificial nail wear or gels, and nail and trimming and
filing until the study endpoint.
- Women of childbearing age who are pregnant or who are trying to become pregnant.
- Individuals with allergies or sensitivity to prostaglandin agents.