If you’re a fan of OB Tampons, better start your hoarding. They have been taken off the shelves and won’t return until 2011, due to an unspecified “manufacturing update.” UPDATE: O.B. Tampons Are Back
Reports of emptiness where the OBs usually are on the shelves started rolling in in November. People who called and emailed Johnson & Johnson were told that the Ultra line was discontinued entirely, but the other OB tampons would be back on the market sometime in 2011.
OB Tampons are different from other tampons because there is no applicator. Also, they get wider as they absorb instead of getting longer. You can wiggle the string at the bottom back and forth to push out the bottom sides, creating a flare-out for more absorbency and a better fit.
The FDA told WBUR that there were no manufacturing or quality control issues that they knew of.
For those who stick with one brand of tampon, finding a blank space on the store shelf where you expect to find your favorite tampon can be a bit of an aggravation. Brand loyalty is high enough that three boxes of 40-count OB Tampons are going for $119 on eBay right now. A single box usually retails at $8.
In the meantime, Natracare sells a line of no-applicator cotton tampons that are a reasonable substitute, though they are more expensive and you’ll have to go to a more specialized pharmacy to find them. Other options include The Keeper and The Diva Cup, both of which are reusable menstrual cups that are worn internally.
O.b. Mystery Deepens: FDA Says No Reports Of Quality Problems [WBUR] (Thanks to Jane!)
Bloody Hell: My Favorite Tampon Has Been Discontinued [Jezebel]