The Refresh PM backorder saga: It's finally over!

Posted by Rebecca Petris on

Quick Facts (updated 7/19/2019)

    Refresh PM Details

    Current status: Back in production. Expected back on some stores possibly as early as the end of July.

    Background: Refresh PM went on backorder at the manufacturer in 2017 due to issues which have forced them to change from metal to laminate tubes. There were long delays involved in re-launching the product in new packaging.

    Ointments Reference List (alternatives)

    If you are a manufacturer and have corrections to this list, please let us know. Last updated 7/8/19.

     Brand Status White Petrolatum Mineral oil Other ingredients
    Refresh PM (Allergan)
    In production, but not yet in stores
    57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Refresh Lacri-Lube (Allergan)
    In production, but not yet in stores
    56.8% 42.5% Chlorobutanol (preservative) and lanolin alcohols
    Activeyes (Generic for Refresh PM)

    Status uncertain. Made by same company that recently recalled Walmart and Walgreens brands.

    57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Equate Restore PM (Walmart)

    RECALL ALERT

    57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Walgreens Lubricant Eye Ointment
    RECALL ALERT
    57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols

    CVS Health Nighttime Dry-Eye Relief Generic for Refresh PM.

    Has been unavailable since mid 2018. Presumed discontinued.

    57.3%

    42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    CVS Health Overnight Ointment 
    Generic for Systane PM.

     

    Available online.
    94% 3% Anhydrous liquid lanolin 3%

    Retaine PM
    (Ocusoft)

    5g size Backorder - no ETA

    80% 20% -
    Soothe Night Time Ointment

    Available

    80% 20% -
    Lubrifresh PM RECALL ALERT 83% 15% Lanolin alcohol
    Genteal Ointment (Alcon)
    Ongoing shortages and backorders
    93%
    4%
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin 
    Systane Nighttime Ointment (Alcon)
    Ongoing shortages and backorders
    94%
    3%
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin

     

    What do I do when I can't get my favorite ointment?

    Here are some tips for shopping and strategies:

    Check the ingredients

    1. How much petrolatum may matter: Lubricant eye ointments are pretty simple products. They are all mostly petrolatum and mineral oil (like vaseline). Most of them also contain lanolin alcohol and one of them contains a preservative. But the main difference amongst the various lubricant eye ointments is the PROPORTION of petrolatum to mineral oil. Some people manage fine on any ointment, but some people find that too much petrolatum can be irritating.
    2. Additional ingredients: If you try to buy an ointment that is not on this list, please look out for preservatives or other irritants amongst the ingredients.
    3. Lanolin: Most lubricant eye ointments on the US market contain lanolin alcohol EXCEPT Retaine PM and Soothe Nighttime. If you have to switch up ointments anyway, maybe it's a good time to try one without the lanolin alcohol.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    We have a handy ingredients reference page with active and inactive ingredients of all sorts of eye lubricants that you can use to research and compare drops, gels and ointments any time. Add it to your favorites - and consider letting your doctor know, too! 

    Non-ointment alternatives

    I know many people who cannot tolerate ointments. They use polymer gels instead. A polymer gel is made of the same stuff as many of the popular drops, but in a higher concentration and in a tube rather than a vial or bottle. Genteal Gel is far and away the most popular of these. What you must be aware of about gels is that they usually contain a "dissipating preservative", one of those preservatives that supposedly dissipates on contact. Talk with your doctor and use only what they approve, of course. I know a great many severe dry eye patients that have used Genteal Gel for years, and while it's not a personal favorite, I have a lot of respect for it because of the people I know who use it. Systane makes a lookalike, and no doubt there are generics available as well. ADDENDUM: There have been ongoing shortages of both Genteal and Systane gels for some months now too.

    Then there's drops and gel-drops. For some people, the combination of a high quality drop with decent staying power (maybe one with an oil, or sodium hyaluronate) plus a mask, shield or goggle can perform just as well as an ointment if not better.

    Maybe it's time to revisit the "big picture" of your overnight strategy

    There are three different aspects of dry eye night care, in my opinion:

    • Preparation: Warm compress, for those who need them or are so inclined.
    • Lubrication: Drops, gel, or ointment. You find what works for  you.
    • Physical barrier protection: This is especially critical for those whose lids do not fully seal overnight, but anecdotally, it seems to help most people with severe overnight symptoms regardless of their lids. For examples, check out our Night Protection products collection.

    My point here is that it is not just all about the goop. Set your eyes up for a really good overnight experience across the board. For some, though certainly not all, this will help reduce your dependence on the availability of any one lubricant product.

    Want us to keep you up to date on Refresh PM or Lacri-Lube status?

    We have a list of people to notify by email or phone when anything changes. It's always possible that something could change for the better and that Refresh PM could come back sooner than expected. We can only hope so, anyway! We can call or email you as soon as Refresh PM is back in stock. Please contact us (email/phone/text/chat) and we'll put you on the list. Don't worry - signing up for this will not subscribe you to our general mailing list or any other.


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    130 comments

    • Thank you so much for this information. On March 14th with so much pain in my eye I was told I have dry eye and a tear on my cornea. My Doc said Refresh PM, eye gel 4 times a day and ointment 4 times a day and at night. Can’t find the product anywhere, so upset with how many places that I’ve been to trying to find the stuff. I also called the manufactors and was left an email backordered till July! Thank You

      Susan Demers on
    • Just a further update. I have been using Soothe Eye Ointment from Bausch & Lomb for the past 10 days or so. I believe that the proportions of the ingredients at 80/20 are closer to the percentages used in Refresh PM than either Genteal or Systane. What I like best about the Soothe ointment is that it has a thick consistency which feels similar in the eye to the Refresh PM product. Soothe eye ointment doesn’t seem to be sold in every drug store, but I have found it in both Rite Aid pharmacy and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The Soothe eye ointment doesn’t irritate my eyes like the CVS brand did.

      Michelle on
    • I just got off the phone with Refresh. I was told it will now be July… maybe.
      I’ll be heading to the doctor soon to get my tears ducts cauterized. A wonderful experience if you haven’t had it done. I’m Systane right now and my eyes are a mess. Thanks so much for the Information.

      Sharon Martin on
    • I agree with the previous comments about Refresh vs Walgreens generic: same recipe with inferior ingredients. The petroleum has a completely different consistency and, for me, is not nearly as effective.

      Rebecca Powell on
    • Thank you so much for this post! As a severe dry eye suffer refresh p.m. is one of the only product that makes a difference . Thank you for mentioning the generic equivalents

      Michele on

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