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 (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)


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


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

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



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


    94% 3% Anhydrous liquid lanolin 3%

    Retaine PM

    5g size Backorder - no ETA

    80% 20% -
    Soothe Night Time Ointment


    80% 20% -
    Lubrifresh PM RECALL ALERT 83% 15% Lanolin alcohol
    Genteal Ointment (Alcon)
    Rolling backorders and shortages
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin 
    Systane Nighttime Ointment (Alcon)
    Rolling backorders and shortages
    Anhydrous liquid lanolin
    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.


    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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    • I have severe dry eyes and have only found that LubriFresh P.M. works for me. I have tried several other due to the shortage of LubriFresh P.M.. None work for me. I was able to order the LubriFresh P.M. for a short time from Amazon but when I attempted to purchase this evening, I found it is again in short supply and at very high prices. LubriFresh P.M. saved me from a lot of the burning and stinging I had with my eyes when I used it at night. Please help!!

      Betty on
    • I sleep with my eyes cracked open and Refresh PM is the only nighttime ointment that works well for me—-I’ve tried all the other ones with identical % ingredients. Early in the disappearance of Refresh PM I was able to buy a “packaging damaged” tube on Ebay at a reasonable price and I am still using it sparingly….about to run out in a few more uses though :’-(

      My experience with others is that even though they claim to have the same % ingredients they have a completely different texture and feel going into the eye. Refresh PM has a more solid, opaque, “vaseline” consistency coming out of the tube while the others have a more clear, liquidy consistency and simply don’t work (in my eyes) as well. I wake up in great eye pain and dryness on all others. I have tried: Equate (walmart), ActiveEyes, Walgreens, and CVS from the above table.

      OF ALL THESE, CVS is the closest thing to working as well as Refresh PM for me. Why, oh why, did CVS also discontinue it??? They fail to understand the concept. Since it’s “generic for Refresh PM” and Refresh PM is off the shelves, guess they took it off the shelves too, without realizing that people are all the more desperate for a replacement and they could even jack up the price if they wanted. I just bought some CVS ointment on Ebay—at least it’s not $100 (yet) like Refresh PM is going for.

      Just trying to make it through til Allergan gets Refresh PM back on the market!!!

      Amy on
    • Pls my son can only be helped by the refresh pm.others are affecting his eyes.He has partial sight and severe dry eyes he got from SJs. Severe reaction to pencilin. So already I have trauma abt meds please help me.

      Jane serumaga on
    • I failed to mention the newer 3.5g tube of mineral oil and petrolatum was $11.99! Had I known they’d changed the formula I wouldn’t have purchased it. That’s a bit rich for ingredients that cost about a nickel. Rip off by Alcon.

      Patrick Manis on
    • I bought a tube of GenTeal gel in July, 2017. It was a 10g plastic tube and the active ingredient was Hypromellose 0.3%. I just bought a tube today (March, 2019) and it was a smaller 3.5g metal tube. The active ingredients were Mineral Oil 3% & White petrolatum 94%. Inactive ingredient: Anhydrous liquid lanolin 3%. Made in Belgium. This is definitely a different GenTeal product than before. Both products are labeled Alcon Laboratories, a Novartis company, 6201 South Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76134

      Patrick Manis on

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