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Why Do You Need a Prescription for a CPAP Machine?How to Get a CPAP Machine PrescriptionWhat Does My CPAP Machine Prescription Need to Say?Where to Buy a CPAP Machine?Where Can I Get a Legitimate Sleep Study for a CPAP Prescription?
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Can You Buy a CPAP Machine Without a Prescription?

Nov 07, 2023
· 6 mins read

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person's breathing is interrupted while they sleep, which can result in daytime sleepiness and increased risk of heart disease.

CPAP therapy is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—it can also be prescribed for some types of central sleep apnea (CSA)—since it helps keep the airway open during sleep, thus ensuring uninterrupted breathing throughout the night and an improved quality of sleep.

Continue reading to learn why you need a prescription for a CPAP machine and how to get one quickly and easily.

Why Do You Need a Prescription for a CPAP Machine?

In order to help people cope with sleep apnea, one of the most common sleep disorders worldwide, many doctors recommend the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.

In the United States, medical devices, such as CPAP equipment, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA classifies medical devices as Class I, II and III. CPAP devices fall under Class II medical devices, which means that they need a prescription to use. 

Prescription requirements are put in place for several reasons, such as to ensure the safety and quality of the medical equipment you use for your sleep apnea treatment, and helping your health insurance provider make sure that you purchased a valid device that was recommended by a medical professional. 

Prescriptions are required when purchasing CPAP machines, CPAP masks and humidifiers. You won’t need a prescription if you’re looking to buy CPAP supplies, such as CPAP tubing, replacement CPAP mask parts and filters.

Using a CPAP machine without a medical prescription could be dangerous or suboptimal. Without a prescription, it’s impossible to know what air pressure setting is ideal for your specific needs.

Using the wrong air pressure during CPAP therapy can lead to undesirable effects like headaches and dry mouth upon waking up, and if your air pressure settings are too low for your needs, you won’t get the desired effects of the therapy.

A man setting up his CPAP machine

How to Get a CPAP Machine Prescription

The first step you need to take to get a new prescription for a CPAP machine is to visit your doctor’s office, where they will assess your sleep apnea symptoms, ask about your medical history and sleep habits, and perform a physical examination.

Once they’re done, if they suspect you may be experiencing sleep apnea, they will refer you to a sleep specialist so they can conduct a sleep study.

The sleep specialist will conduct sleep apnea tests, such as an inpatient polysomnography or a home sleep test, to measure different aspects of your sleep pattern, such as breathing patterns, heart rate, and oxygen levels.

This information will help them make the sleep apnea diagnosis and establish the air pressure level that would be right for your CPAP therapy. The sleep specialist can also give you instructions on how to use your CPAP machine correctly for optimal performance.

What Does My CPAP Machine Prescription Need to Say?

A prescription for a CPAP machine needs to include certain information for it to be valid. Here we list some of the information your CPAP prescription must have:

  • - Your doctor or NP’s full name, contact information, and signature 
  • - Your full name 
  • - The date in which it was issued (it may have an expiration date) 
  • - The duration of the treatment
  • - Your specific diagnosis
  • - The air pressure setting that’s ideal for your specific needs 
  • - Any special instruction for your particular case, such as the type of CPAP machine you need (traditional CPAP machine, APAP machine, or BiPAP machine) or the CPAP mask type you should be using to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment, such as a nasal, nasal pillow or full-face mask.

Your CPAP machine supplier will use this information to make sure that you purchase the appropriate machine and accessories. At Sleeplay, we count with on-site CPAP experts that are ready to answer all your questions regarding the use of our machines and masks.

Where to Buy a CPAP Machine?

Once you receive your prescription for a CPAP machine, you can choose between purchasing it from an online retailer or going through your insurance company to get one.

When going through your insurance company to get your CPAP machine, they will typically decide what kind of CPAP equipment they are going to cover, and that’s the only type of CPAP machine you’ll be able to get.

Other woes that come with going through your insurance provider is that you have to navigate the policies and requirements put in place by your insurance provider, which can result in a long and expensive process before you are able to get your CPAP machine and start your sleep apnea treatment.

When buying through an online retailer, on the other hand, you just need to take a look at all the options available for purchase and choose the machine that adjusts to your medical needs, your lifestyle, and your CPAP therapy expectations.

You’ll be able to choose from the best CPAP brands in the market, such as ResMed, and you’ll be able to buy all the CPAP supplies and accessories you need in just a few minutes.

At Sleeplay, we offer free shipping in orders over $50, a 30-day mask exchange program, and a price match guarantee if you find the same CPAP machine at a lower price with a different retailer. You’ll also receive tailored customer service from our award-winning customer service department.

Where Can I Get a Legitimate Sleep Study for a CPAP Prescription?

To obtain a legitimate and valid prescription for a CPAP machine, you’ll need to undergo a sleep test. There are two main types of sleep tests that can be performed to determine your sleep apnea treatment needs: a home sleep study, and an in-lab sleep study.

Doctor examining sleep apnea patient.

In-lab Sleep Study

In-lab sleep studies can be conducted at a sleep center or a hospital. You will have to spend the night there, and while you’re sleeping various sensors attached to your body will monitor your sleep.

As with home sleep tests, these results are then sent to a sleep specialist for their analysis.

This type of sleep study is ideal for people who suffer from other sleep disorders that could affect the results of a home sleep test, since this type of test is considered to be more accurate.

However, this can be a more uncomfortable option than home sleep tests, especially for those who have trouble falling asleep in unknown environments.

Home Sleep Study

A home sleep test is a more convenient and less expensive option to diagnose sleep apnea. This kind of test is conducted in your own home, by using a portable monitor that attaches to your finger or chest and measures your sleep parameters.

These results are then sent to a sleep specialist, who will analyze them and determine if you have sleep apnea, as well as the ideal treatment for you.

Home sleep tests are a great option for those who are suspected to have sleep apnea, and who don’t have other sleep disorder diagnoses that could affect the results of the test, such as restless leg syndrome or narcolepsy. 

You need a prescription or referral from a physician to get this test performed, but you can get said referral through Sleeplay’s virtual appointment service, and you can also get our very own Home Sleep Test—which has helped plenty of people over the years get their sleep apnea diagnosis and CPAP prescription.

The advantages of our Home Sleep Test over conventional sleep tests is that it is hassle-free, fast and easy, as you can get it done in two days, and you get the equipment shipped straight to your door.

Obtaining a CPAP prescription is the first step to start your sleep apnea treatment. Your prescription is a document that not only will allow you to purchase the CPAP machine that’s right for you, but it will also contain the instructions to perform CPAP therapy correctly and ensure that your treatment is effective.

If you want to know if you have sleep apnea and get started in your journey to treat it, you can take our Home Sleep Test.

Gabriela Alvarado

Medically reviewed: Gabriela Alvarado

Medical Doctor from the Central University of Venezuela. She holds certifications in Public Health Practice from institutions such as Johns Hopkins University (USA) and Imperial College London (UK).

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