Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Machine? – Medical Issue

The article below provides you with detailed information on the importance of acquiring a doctor’s prescription before purchasing a CPAP machine.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 28, 2021
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A recent study Trusted Source Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device? | Harvard Health Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 20% of the population, and if untreated it has negative effects on cardiac and metabolic health as well as quality of life. www.health.harvard.edu  established that sleep apnea affects more than 20% of the U.S population. The same study found that people with certain health conditions such as obesity or heart problems are likely to suffer from this sleep disorder. People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea encounter unlimited episodes of airway obstruction, either partially or totally, resulting in sleep disturbance or fluctuating oxygen levels while sleeping. This condition takes us to our next question; do you need a prescription for a CPAP machine?

The number of sleep disruptions hourly determines the prevalence of this condition; therefore, the more the sleep disruption, the higher the severity. The recommended treatment Trusted Source Clinical Guideline for the Evaluation, Management and Long-term Care of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine | AASM Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common chronic disorder that often requires lifelong care. aasm.org for moderate or severe sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure, also referred to as CPAP. But the question is, do you need a prescription for a CPAP machine in the USA?

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Machine? – Medical Issue

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) stops you from breathing normally at night; your airway can partly or completely block during sleep.

When ignored, this condition can adversely affect one’s health, especially the heart and metabolic health. It also leads to insomnia which affects the general quality of life by increasing daytime fatigue. Disturbance of sleep patterns can lead to depression and anxiety Trusted Source Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnea With the Risk of Affective Disorders | Anxiety Disorders | JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery This observational study using nationwide data suggests that OSA is associated with an increased incidence of affective disorder, such as depression and anxiety. jamanetwork.com .

Is a Prescription Required to Purchase a CPAP?

Yes. You need to obtain a clearance from the doctor for you to acquire a CPAP machine. Even though CPAP treatment is considered safe and most effective, you will need to consult a doctor before purchasing it.

Discuss with your medical practitioner about your condition and explain all the symptoms. The doctor will decide whether the disease is mild or severe, determining whether you require CPAP treatment. After obtaining the prescription, you are eligible to purchase one for yourself. 

Why Do You Need a CPAP Prescription?

A CPAP prescription is essential as it ensures that the treatment is safe and customized to the patient’s needs. Severally, people tend to abuse CPAP machines, and therefore the FDA classified these machines as Class II medical devices. They were previously classified as class III medical types of equipment.

These amendments were made to break down any challenges and ensure product innovation and easy access of the machines to patients. It may seem difficult to acquire a CPAP machine, but it is easier to acquire one with the new changes if you have a medical prescription from a registered doctor. 

Discussing with your doctor helps to understand:

  • The type of sleep apnea you are suffering from
  • The best types of units you require for your need
  • The suitable mask and delivery system that suits your condition
  • the recommended pressure to suit your needs
  • The right time to replace the accessories of the machine

Consulting a medical professional also helps one to recover quickly from the condition. Using a CPAP without any prescription may fail to solve your problems. It is also easier to claim for insurance reimbursement if you obtain a prescription from the doctor. 

Stores that allow you to purchase CPAP machines without any prescription may be selling inappropriate machines that the FDA does not approve.
 

How Can You Get a CPAP Prescription?

You need to identify if you are having any sleep apnea before visiting the doctor. Once you suspect the likelihood of suffering from sleep apnea, it is essential to seek medical advice. The main symptoms of sleep Apnea include;

  • Excessive snoring
  • Disturbed breathing
  • Disrupted sleep through choking or gasping
  • Frequent waking up in your sleep
  • Headache, especially in the morning
  • High fatigue levels during the day
  • Mood changes

In case you have the following symptoms, it is vital to schedule an appointment with your doctor. A primary physician can write you a prescription without necessarily consulting a specialist. However, the primary physician may fail to identify whether you suffer from sleep apnea and refer you to a specialist. The special doctor will conduct a sleep study to identify whether you are suffering from sleep apnea. 

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Machine? – Medical Issue

Sleep study aims to record brain and body activity that happens during sleep so that sleep disorders can be diagnosed and treated.

The doctor will perform the sleep study, also known as polysomnography, in a sleep clinic. Some can describe a simple version which you can perform at home. The study will record the heart rate, muscle activity, oxygen concentration, and eye movement. the doctor analyzes all these factors and determines the proper treatment. 

What Is Information Required in Your Prescription?

Your prescription should contain important information for you to acquire a CPAP machine. Inappropriate placement of information could affect the possibility of acquiring the right equipment. Below are some basic information needed in your prescription:

  • Your full names
  • The order date
  • The period of use
  • Diagnosis information
  • The doctor’s details
  • The doctor’s valid signature

Can You Buy a CPAP Machine Without a Doctor?

Asking yourself whether you can buy CPAP without a doctor? No. one cannot acquire a CPAP without a doctor’s prescription. The FDA controls the distribution of these machines to only those with doctor’s prescriptions. One must undergo a sleep study in a sleep clinic or at home. 

CPAP Supplies Without a Prescription

Unlike the CPAP machine, one can acquire CPAP supplies without a doctor’s prescription. CPAP supplies include replacement mask parts, hoses except for some heating tubing, batteries, and filters. One can acquire other supplies such as pillows, wraps, aromatherapy bundles, and chain strips without a doctor’s or pharmacist’s prescription.

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Machine? – Medical Issue

The schedule of replacement mask parts, hoses except for some heating tubing and filters.

 People with knowledge on how to assemble a mask can purchase the different pieces and create one.

Benefits of Acquiring a Doctor’s Prescription for CPAP 

Below is a list of essential advantages you get from having a doctor’s prescription before buying a CPAP Machine:

Protects You Against Any Harm

The doctor will first examine the results from the tour sleep study before prescribing a CPAP machine. The specialist will verify that you need the machine. Once you acquire the CPAP machine, the specialist will customize the settings to fit your needs and ensure that it offers the right therapy. 

A wrong setup can lead to adverse effects on one’s condition. If the pressure is not right, it may damage your respiratory system rather than providing the right therapy.
 

Helps in Insurance Claims

Almost all insurance companies will require a doctor’s prescription before covering the costs of acquiring a CPAP machine. With a doctor’s prescription, the insurance will also cover the costs of CPAP supplies that need replacement hence saving on medical expenses. 

Provides You with a Customized Treatment

Sleep apnea patients receive customized treatment depending on the condition. Your therapist will set the right pressure and recommend the right supplies such as masks, delivery systems, and parts. 

When picking the right CPAP machine, there are different types, and you can check some of the best CPAP machines, such as the ResMed AirSense 10 CPAP.

What Are the Areas You Can Purchase a CPAP Machine?

After receiving your CPAP prescription, you should begin looking for a reputable vendor from which you will make your purchase. CPAP machines are available on several platforms, which include:

  • Your medical cover
  • Online companies
  • The local clinic
  • Medical equipment stores

When you choose to acquire your CPAP machine from your insurance company, it is important to note that some vendors only rent out the CPAP machines. 

Can you buy a CPAP machine over the counter? Yes, but you will still need a prescription from the doctor. With medical retailers, you can check out some of the types of equipment they have before purchasing. However, over-the-counter retailers may not have a wide selection; hence you will only have limited options. 

It is best to purchase CPAP machines such as the Breas Vivo 40 BIPAP ST online. Online platforms have a wide variety of CPAP machines and provide a good returning policy if the machine does not give optimum results. 

Note that even when purchasing the six most reliable CPAP machines to help you with sleep Apnea, you will still need a doctor’s prescription. Most online vendors provide an easy process where you upload the prescription together with your order.

What Is the Validity of your Prescription?

Most prescriptions given by health experts have an expiry date. However, some provide lifetime prescriptions depending on the number of refills the doctor prescribes. Once the prescription expires, you will need to visit the doctor for the next one. The doctor will reexamine your condition before prescribing another refill.

Which Medical Practitioners Can Write You a CPAP Prescription?

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a CPAP Machine? – Medical Issue
Not all professionals in the medical field can write you a CPAP prescription. Here is a list of the authorized professionals who can provide a prescription:

  • Registered medical doctor
  • Psychiatrists
  • Osteopathy Doctor
  • Physician Assistant
  • Dentist
  • Naturopathic Physician 
  • Nurse Practitioner

The following are not eligible to offer a CPAP prescription: 

  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Medical Assistants
  • Respiratory caregivers
  • Chiropractor
  • Optometrist
  • Podiatrist

Final Words

Sleep Apnea is a medical condition that needs immediate medical attention. However, most people live with this condition without knowing the damage it is causing to their bodies. CPAP machines are the recommended therapy used to treat this condition but do you need a prescription for a CPAP machine? Yes, it would be best if you had a doctor’s prescription to purchase the equipment. The doctor’s prescription contains vital information such as pressure levels and oxygen concentration which help set up the equipment.  No vendor will accept to sell you the machine and its supplies without a prescription since they will be contravening the FDA guidelines. 

Purchasing without a prescription can also lead to worse scenarios since the setting up of the machine is not done according to your needs. It also prevents you from claiming your insurance cover. The answer to, do you need a doctor’s order or prescription for a CPAP machine is Yes.

References

1.
Treating mild sleep apnea: Should you consider a CPAP device? | Harvard Health
Obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 20% of the population, and if untreated it has negative effects on cardiac and metabolic health as well as quality of life.
2.
Clinical Guideline for the Evaluation, Management and Long-term Care of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine | AASM
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common chronic disorder that often requires lifelong care.
3.
Association of Obstructive Sleep Apnea With the Risk of Affective Disorders | Anxiety Disorders | JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery
This observational study using nationwide data suggests that OSA is associated with an increased incidence of affective disorder, such as depression and anxiety.
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