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.


    Share this post



    ← Older Post


    137 comments

    • 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
    • Thank you for such an informative write up. I telephoned the company last week to inquire when they expect Refresh PM to be shipped to drug stores and was told that they will be shipping again in late July. Like everyone else, I am at a loss as to what to do. I have been using Refresh PM for 17 years and found it to be a very soothing product for my dry eyes. I tried the CVS brand, whose label indicates that it compares to Refresh PM but it irritated my eyes. I was going to purchase the Walgreens brand when I noticed that the box looked almost identical to the CVS box and that both products were manufactured in Korea. I just purchased the Refresh Gel, which does not have the consistency of ointment but I am comfortable using the Refresh products. I will probably try the Sustane and Gentil ointments but as the percentages are different than Refresh PM I am not sure what to expect.

      Thank you again for all of this helpful information.

      Michelle on
    • As a last resort, I was referred to a doctor who fits contacts. He put me in hard lenses. From day one I have not been bothered by dry eyes. I still wear a patch on one eye at night because the eye lid does not fully close. During the day, the contacts keep my eyes moist.

      Pat Brandt on
    • Thank you so much for your great information. I had just emailed Allergan asking where I could find Refresh PM, as none of the stores in my city had it. Here is the reply I received: Thank you for your email. Refresh PM is on back order and is expected to be available mid to late April 2018, but is subject to possible change. Our apologies for any inconveniences that this may have caused.
      Thank You
      Allergan Customer Relations
      Phone : 800-678-1605 Opt 5

      Charyle on

    Leave a comment