Lacri-lube has been out of stock since 2018. Still, after all this time, some patients get repeat prescriptions issued with Laci-Lube on it. Patients who have Lacri-Lube eye ointment on their ‘repeats’ should contact their surgery and ask to remove it and replace it with Lacri-lube alternative eye ointments. I will list in this post the best Lacri-Lube alternative eye ointments and gels. All eye ointments which are alternative to Lacri-Lube can be purchased from pharmacies and online. #
What is Lacri-Lube?
LACRI-LUBE® Eye ointment (also marketed as Refresh Night Time® Eye ointment) is a pharmacy-only, preservative-free eye ointment licensed to lubricate and protect the eye associated with different eye conditions, for example, inflammation of the cornea of the eye, decreased corneal sensitivity, corneal erosions and eye surgery.
Has Lacri-Lube been discontinued?
Lacri-Lube is not discontinued. Allergan, producer of Lacri-Lube is currently going through regulatory steps before relaunching of Lacri-Lube. The manufacturing process of Lacri-Lube will be changed, therefore it takes longer for a license to be approved. The initial target for re-launch is quarter 4 of 2021, however, this has not been confirmed yet.
Lacri-Lube active ingredients
Three main active ingredients found in Lacri-lube eye ointment:
- White soft paraffin (white petroleum jelly)
- Liquid paraffin
- Wool alcohols
I will list firstly eye ointments currently available on the market, which are alternative to Lacri-lube and then give a broad overview of alternative eye gels. Most alternatives should be available from high street pharmacies or online. Some products are classified as pharmacy-only medicines, which means they can only be purchased from the pharmacy and online chemists.
Eye ointments or drops are usually kept as a part of dispensary stock rather than stock on display for the patient’s self-selection. Patients need to make a request at the pharmacy counter for a specific product. Generally, the best deals are offered online, including Amazon.co.uk, especially when bulk or multiple packs are purchased together.
Eye ointments vs eye drops
As some of you may have realised, most eye ointments are named as ‘night‘ products. Eye ointments, as opposed to eye drops, are of a thicker consistency and more greasy. This formulation may offer prolonged eye lubrication when compared to eye drops. Eye ointments and gels are ‘messier’ and require a slightly different application to the eye than eye drops.
Lacri-Lube alternative eye ointments
1. Hycosan Night eye ointment
Hycosan Night is another popular, preservative-free eye ointment, which contains Vitamin A (retinol palmitate). Other ingredients found in Hycosan Night:
- Liquid paraffin
- Light liquid paraffin
- Wool fat
- White soft paraffin
Hycosan has a very close combination of liquid paraffin, soft white paraffin, and wool fat (used to produce wool alcohols) found in Laci-lube.
The addition of Vitamin A in the formulation may offer an extra treatment benefit. Some forms of Vitamin A are essential to the visual process (Saari, 2016). The evidence for the use of Vitamin A in eye drops/ointments is mixed with some studies reporting no change in the healing process in patients who undergone eye procedures (Chelala et al., 2013) and other studies showing improvements in the quality of tears (Alanazi et al., 2019). Overall, there is not enough evidence to conclude the benefits of Vitamin A in the composition of eye ointments.
2. Xailin Night Lubricating Eye Ointment
Xailin Night eye ointment has a slightly different composition of active ingredients; however, it comes in the same form. Main active ingredients found in Xailin Nigh Lubricating ointment:
- White Soft Paraffin (same ingredient)
- White Mineral Oil
- Lanolin Alcohols (made from wool alcohol)
Xailin Night Eye Ointment is preservative-free.
What is Xailin Night Lubricating Eye Ointment used for?
Xailin Night Lubricating Eye Ointment manages dry eyes symptoms, including irritation, soreness and a gritty sensation.
3. Hylo Night (Vita-POS) eye ointment
Hylo Night, previously known as Vita-POS eye ointment, is another preservative-free eye ointment used to manage dry eye symptoms and help with blurred vision. Nothing has changed in terms of active ingredients since rebranding from Vita-POS to Hylo Night. Hylo Night also contains Vitamin A (retinol palmitate) alongside two ingredients:
- liquid paraffin
- wool fat
Two of the active ingredients resemble similar composition to Lacri-lube ointment.
Which eye ointment is the best Lacri-Lube alternative?
All eye ointments reviewed above have a similar combination of ingredients found in Lacri-lube eye ointment. The addition of Vitamin A in Hycosan Night and Hylo night may offer further benefits, and some may find Lucri-lube alternatives more effective than Lacri-lube itself. Trying out more than one product (at different times) may be a reasonable approach to the treatment of dry eyes.
Lacri-Lube alternative eye gels
Eye gels are less greasy than eye ointments but are of a thicker consistency than eye drops, providing prolonged lubrication of the eye. Eye gel drops for dry eyes contain carbomer as the main ingredient.
I previously reviewed the best carbomer eye gel drops for dry eyes. Additionally, you can read more about dry eyes condition. Carbomer eye gel can be used during the day to complement treatment with night eye ointments. A popular brand of carbomer eye gel is Viscotears (pharmacy-only product – available only from pharmacies including online chemists) and Xailin gel. Generic carbomer eye gel offers the best value for money.
Patients who experience dry eyes have the choice of a variety of products, which contain different active ingredients, for example:
- Hypromellose (Medicom Hypromellose 0.3% eye drops)
- Sodium hyaluronate (Hycosan Extra with excellent reviews on Amazon)
- Propylene Glycol (Systane balance)
- Combination of Polyethylene Glycol and Sodium Hyaluronate (Blink Intensive Tears)
- Carmellose sodium (Carmize eye drops)
Alanazi SA, El-Hiti GA, Al-Baloud AA (2019), et al. Effects of short-term oral vitamin A supplementation on the ocular tear film in patients with dry eye. Clin Ophthalmol. 2019;13:599-604. Published 2019 Apr 10. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S198349 Available at https://dx.doi.org/10.2147%2FOPTH.S198349 Accessed on 06/04/2021
Chelala E, Dirani A, Fadlallah A, Fahd S (2013). The role of topical vitamin A in promoting healing in surface refractive procedures: a prospective randomised controlled study. Clin Ophthalmol. 2013;7:1913-1918. doi:10.2147/OPTH.S52280 Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.2147%2FOPTH.S52280 Accessed on 06/04/2021
Saari JC (2016). Vitamin A and Vision. Subcell Biochem. 2016;81:231-259. doi: 10.1007/978-94-024-0945-1_9. PMID: 27830507. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-0945-1_9 Accessed on 06/04/2021