CDC tells consumers to stop using Ezricare Artificial Tears as it investigates infections, death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising consumers to immediately stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears as an investigation into a “multistate cluster” of infections linked to the eye drops continues.

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One person has died and at least three others were left with permanent vision loss because of a bacterial infection that may be linked to the over-the-counter eyedrop, the CDC said in a statement.

According to the agency, a majority of those affected reported using preservative-free EzriCare Artificial Tears before becoming ill, the CDC reported.

While the infections have not been definitively linked to the eyedrops, the CDC recommended that “patients immediately discontinue the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears until the epidemiological investigation and laboratory analyses are complete.”

EzriCare issued the following statement after learning of the investigation. The company said it had not been contacted by any regulatory agency.

“EzriCare has received no consumer complaints or adverse event report related to the investigation to date,” the company statement read.

“Also, as of this date, EzriCare has not received communication from any regulatory agency providing any outcomes or details to EzriCare about the ongoing investigation. We have not been asked to conduct a recall. EzriCare does not manufacture the Lubricant Eye Drops (Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium, 10mg in 1mL) in ½ fl. oz (15mL) containers (NDC: 79503-0101-15). The EzriCare Artificial Tears was formulated, designed and imported by Aru Pharma Inc and was manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare PVT LTD.”

The CDC found the bacteria in bottles of eyedrops and is testing to see whether that bacteria matches the strain found in patients.

According to the CDC, at least 50 people in 11 states have been diagnosed with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacterium resistant to most antibiotics, according to WebMD.

Cases have been reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Of the 50 people who have become ill, most said they’d used EzriCare Artificial Tears before becoming ill. The CDC said that 11 people developed eye infections, and three of those were blinded in one eye. One person died when the bacterium entered their bloodstream.