The Refresh PM backorder saga & ointment shortages

Posted by Rebecca Petris on

Quick Facts

  • Refresh PM and Refresh Lacri-Lube are unavailable and not expected back before late summer 2019. 
  • Statement from Allergan.
  • Generic brand availability has fluctuated a lot; some have been discontinued
  • Other name brand ointments (different composition) mostly seem to be back in stock
  • See table below for detailed product status

Want updates by email?

  • Contact us (phone/text/email/chat) to get on our email list for status updates or just call 877-693-7939
  • Contact the manufacturer to be notified manufacturer when Refresh PM / Refresh LacriLube are available again. (Just be sure to read the fine print about the mailing list you may be joining at the same time.)

    Refresh PM Status Details

    Status: Out of production. It may be back on the market as early as late summer or early fall 2019.

    Background: Refresh PM has been on backorder at the manufacturer since early autumn 2017 due to issues which have forced them to change from metal to laminate tubes. There are delays involved in re-launching the product in new packaging.

    Current status of popular lubricant ointments

    Please let us know if you have corrections for this list.

     Brand Status White Petrolatum Mineral oil Other ingredients
    Refresh PM (Allergan) Out of production at present 57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Refresh Lacri-Lube (Allergan)
    Out of production at present
    56.8% 42.5% Chlorobutanol (preservative) and lanolin alcohols
    Equate Restore PM (Walmart)
    Available online 57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols
    Walgreens Lubricant Eye Ointment
    Not available online. Rumored discontinued, but status unknown. 57.3% 42.5% Lanolin alcohols

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


    Not available online. Rumored discontinued, but status unknown.


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


    Available online.
    94% 3% Anhydrous liquid lanolin 3%
    Retaine PM (Ocusoft)
    Backordered, no date (as of 1/2/19)
    80% 20% -
    Soothe Night Time Ointment


    80% 20% -
    Genteal Ointment (Alcon)
    Extended backorder from manufacturer. *Might* be available online or locally
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin 
    Systane Nighttime Ointment (Alcon)
    Extended backorder from manufacturer. *Might* be available online or locally
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin



    All ointments are getting scarce at this point, and the gels are as well, so we're all going to have to start getting creative till this crisis is past. 

    INGREDIENT MUST-KNOWS: 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. If you try to buy an ointment that is not on this list, please look out for preservatives or other irritants amongst the ingredients.

    DID YOU KNOW? All lubricant eye ointments 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.

    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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    • How about Stye? I don’t see it on the list. Active Ingredients from their website are Mineral oil 31.9%, White Petrolatum 57.7%, and inactive Ingredients Microcrystalline wax, stearic acid, Wheat germ oil.

      I’m a pharmacist, and pretty much every ointment but that one is listed as backordered on my suppliers’ websites, I was wondering if I should stock up on those.

      Shalom on
    • I have used Refresh PM for years with excellent results. As I can no longer find it locally, I have tried Systane and within two weeks was experiencing intense itching and burning. So went to GenTeal gel. Lasted on it a month before itching and burning started. And yesterday, experienced a corneal abrasion. I have very dry eyes/allergies and am very concerned about the unavailability of Refresh PM. Anyone know of any other nightime gels that might work?

      Joyce Potter on
    • MY understanding , there is a law suit but…it is because there are particles from the cap getting into the gel. I feel the problem was the point of the tube where gel comes out, it was made of metal not plastic. If the metal touch the eye when applying, it felt like ( when you happen to bite tinfoil) a weird sensation. Refresh PM was the best, with the right mixture of ingredients. I have switched to Systane PM per my eye surgeons. I find it too jelly , thick, but am using it. My upper and lower eyelids no long secrete liquid, when it first happened it felt like my eye lids were going over golf balls, and that was causing my retinas to be scratched.

      sandy suray on
    • FYI for people living in Canada: OCUNOX eye ointment is in stock in all major pharmacy chains and optometry clinics. It’s a German ointment for nighttime protection of the tear film, distributed in Canada by Candorvision (same as the HYLO eyedrops) and with very positive feedback. It contains only vitamin A, paraffin, wool fat and white petrolatum. Vitamin A is a natural component of the tear film! Hope this helps some of you out there :)

      Carlos on
    • I was told by someone who works for Allergen that the reason for this mess is that they are being threatened with a law suit for “stealing product share”. So, because Refresh is/was the best product for night time relief ~ we all pay the price.
      My problem is that my eyes don’t close at night, without an ointment I wake up in severe pain and have to rub my eyes to get them to close.

      Donna on

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