Prostaglandins are a group of potent, hormone-like substances that exist or are synthesized in virtually every cell in the human body. Of the 16 known prostaglandins, all function as chemical messengers and can have one or more of the following effects in the body: constriction or dilation of vascular smooth muscle cells, blood platelet organization, sensitization of neurons to pain, decreasing intraocular (eye) pressure (as in glaucoma), regulation of calcium movement through the body, regulating hormones, controlling cell growth, producing fever via inflammation, kidney filtration, uterine stimulation, and constricting or dilating blood vessels. Drugs that affect prostaglandins are used medically to induce labor, control high blood pressure, manage peptic ulcers, treat asthma, and induce menstruation (Sources: www.medicine.net; and www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/555prostagland.html).
Prostaglandin analogues are synthetic ingredients designed to bind to specific prostaglandin receptor sites on cells. When it comes to treating glaucoma and the potential for prostaglandin analogues to stimulate eyelash growth, the three most well known options are bimatoprost, travoprost, and latanoprost. Among these, bimatoprost is the most well-researched for eyelash growth, though all have the same potential benefits and side effects (Sources: European Journal of Dermatology, November-December 2009, pages 586–587; Experimental Eye Research, April 2009, pages 786–791; Survey of Ophthalmology, November 2008, pages S93–S105; Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, January 2007, pages 45–52; Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, November 2006, pages 755–764; and Drugs in Aging, Volume 19, 2002, pages 231–248).