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

Posted by Rebecca Petris on

Quick Facts (updated 7/22/2019)

  • Refresh PM and Refresh Lacri-Lube are BACK IN PRODUCTION
  • Starting to appear in Walgreens, Publix and other stores
  • Refresh PM is currently IN STOCK at dryeyeshop.com (we expect LacriLube within another week or so)
  • Availability of ointments in general still relatively limited.
  • RECALL ALERT: Walmart Equate, CVS, Walgreens, and certain other lubricating ointments were recently recalled, along with a large number of eyedrops, gels and ointments. Details of 100+ ophthalmic product recalls 

    Refresh PM Details

    Current status: Back in production. Available in many stores.

    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 7/22/19.

     Brand Status White Petrolatum Mineral oil Other ingredients
    Refresh PM (Allergan)
    In production, available in some stores
    57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Refresh Lacri-Lube (Allergan)
    In production, available in some stores
    56.8% 42.5% Chlorobutanol (preservative) and lanolin alcohols
    Activeyes (Generic for Refresh PM)

    RECALL ALERT

    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.

    RECALL ALERT

    57.3%

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

     RECALL ALERT

    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)
    Rolling backorders and shortages
    93%
    4%
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin 
    Systane Nighttime Ointment (Alcon)
    Rolling backorders and shortages
    94%
    3%
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin
    Puralube
    RECALL ALERT
    85% 15%

     

    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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    138 comments

    • Has anyone noticed their eyelids becoming red and itchy in response to an off-brand ointment? I’ve been using the Walgreens brand, and I think it may be causing this, but I’m not sure. Eyelid irritation can have so many causes, it’s really hard to nail down. I’d love to see if anyone has had the same experience with an off-brand ointment!

      Melissa on
    • Thank you for posting this information. I was just doing a search to see what I could find out as well, since I had emailed the company months ago and been told that they expected it to be available this past March. My eye doctor approved generic (store) brands so I tried Walmart’s Equate. To add my experience, it works okay for my nighttime dry eye but I do feel a difference. It seems more gunky and I definitely have more of it to wipe off from around my eyes in the morning. The Equate packaging (tube) is more awkward for me—the tube opening is larger and therefore makes it more difficult to apply just the small amount I need. (Just adding my info in case it helps someone else.)

      Becky on
    • I thought I was alone in my search for Refresh PM! Since it has been unavailable, I have searched the alternate products. I absolutely notice a difference in the other nightime ointments with different percentages of white petroleum to mineral oil; none have worked.
      I too found Walgreens and also Wegmans; so far, they are working. Years ago I tried the CVS brand but could not tolerate it after one application. Hoping that Refresh PM returns soon!

      Stephanie DeBruyne on
    • Best is Equate. Feels like Refresh PM. Then comes CVS. Walgreens is too runny.

      Joseph Gurinsky on
    • This post has been so extremely helpful (you really have no idea)! Thanks so much! I will trial some of the other generics and I will trial the silicone tape for now. I like the eye shields or moisture chambers for night time as well.

      J.H. on

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