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Public Advised to Discontinue Use of Artificial Tears Product Linked to Multidrug Resistant Infections

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is alerting consumers and healthcare providers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people nationwide to discontinue the use of preservative-free EzriCare Artificial Tears. The product has been linked to cases nationwide of a strain of extensively drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The over-the-counter product, sold at Walmart, Amazon, and other retailers nationwide, is packaged in multidose bottles.

Although the product is not yet under an official recall, health officials and the product's manufacturer are advising patients and healthcare providers to immediately discontinue using EzriCare artificial tears pending additional guidance from CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While the majority of the cases reported use of EzriCare artificial tears, more than 10 brands of artificial tears were reported to be used by the patients involved, and some reported using multiple brands. CDC laboratory testing has identified this bacterium in opened EzriCare bottles with different lot numbers collected from two states.

Patients had a variety of presentations including eye infection, respiratory infection, urinary tract infection, and sepsis. Vision loss resulting from cornea infection, hospitalization, and one death due to systemic infection were reported. A CDC Health Alert Network Health Advisory distributed by CDC and RIDOH to healthcare providers on Wednesday advises the following guidance to members of the public: --Discontinue using EzriCare Artificial Tears pending additional guidance from CDC and FDA. --If patients were advised to use EzriCare Artificial Tears by their healthcare provider, they should follow up with their healthcare provider for an alternative artificial tears product to use. --Patients who used EzriCare Artificial Tears and who have signs or symptoms of an eye infection, such as discharge from the eye, eye pain or discomfort, redness of the eye or eyelid, feeling of something in the eye, increased sensitivity to light, or blurry vision, should seek timely medical care and let your provider know that you have used this product. At this time, CDC does not recommend testing of patients who have used this product and who are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of infection.

Healthcare providers should review the clinical guidance in the Feb. 1 CDC Health Alert Network Health Advisory. For more information, please call CDC at 1-800-232-4636.

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