Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Buy a Complete ResMed CPAP Mask Without a Prescription

ResMed manufactures some of the best (and most popular) CPAP masks available on the market. Pictured above is the AirFit P10, the latest offering from ResMed in the nasal pillow category.

Mask Prescriptions and My Rant

CPAP masks are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as a Class II Medical Device, and therefore require a valid prescription from a U.S. based physician to facilitate their purchase. However, this is completely ludicrous to me; you could wear a CPAP mask all day long with no ill effects (strange looks from people aside). That being said, I am quite sure that the FDA does not care what my thoughts are on this subject.

Let's take a quick look at some statistics from non-prescription medications to illustrate just how ridiculous this requirement is:

  • Approximately 150 Americans die annually from accidental Tylenol overdose
  • An estimated 33,000 persons are hospitalized due to Tylenol overdose
  • Approximately 16,500 people worldwide die annually due to overdose from over-the-counter NSAIDs.  Source:

Documented deaths from CPAP use:

  • Ummm, zero? 

There may have been one documented death, which was an unfortunate situation in New Zealand in which a woman died while using CPAP after her power was disconnected. If this is accurate, it was possibly due to extenuating circumstances such as a comordibity (severe heart disease, etc). Even if you are using a full face CPAP mask, a valve will open if the airflow is interrupted. The vast majority of people who use CPAP are awakened in the event of any occurrence which interrupts the flow of air; if you do not awaken, the anti-asphyxia valve which is present on all full face masks will open, allowing you to breathe. 

My real point with this is to emphasize the extremely low, likely non-existent, incidence of death due to proper (or improper) use of a CPAP mask. At the same time, there are far more dangerous products available over the counter at your local pharmacy. A CPAP mask is simply a few pieces of extremely well-crafted silicone, paired with an injection molded frame and a fabric strap with velcro tabs. Scary stuff, those masks! The FDA is absolutely correct in regulating them as a Class II Medical Device (sarcasm intended).

Lastly, who would purchase a mask unless they already have a CPAP or BiPAP machine, therefore also implying that they have a prescription since they had a sleep study performed? The frustration comes into play when a legitimate CPAP user needs to purchase a new mask, and are unable to locate their original order, or have to wait (sometimes days) for their physician's office to provide them with a copy or write them a prescription. Anyone who has realized that they forgot their mask while travelling can identify with this.

The Amazingly Simple Solution

OK, we have established that you cannot purchase a sweet new ResMed CPAP mask without a prescription. 

The solution? Purchase the parts separately. How easy is that? Incredibly easy!

Let's use one example from each of the 3 primary categories of masks (nasal pillows, full face mask, nasal mask). I'll use examples from my website, since we have each ResMed mask categorized with the necessary parts to "build your own CPAP mask". The beauty of doing this is that each of the individual parts, purchased separately, tally up to the same price as buying the mask as a complete system. All you have to do is purchase the appropriate frame, headgear, and silicone cushion/nasal pillow and you're good to go. I'm going to keep it simple, and build each of my masks in the standard configuration. Of course, you need to simply choose a different part number if you want pink headgear, a size small cushion, etc.

ResMed Airfit P10 Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask

What you'll need for this system:

  1. Headgear, part number 62935, found here for $25.00: ResMed AirFit P10 Headgear
  2. Frame, part number 62922, found here for $74.00: ResMed Airfit P10 Frame Assembly
Total cost for these 2 items, $99.00. Same as you would pay for the complete (pre-assembled) mask.

AirFit P10 Headgear
AirFit P10 Frame With Pillows

ResMed Mirage FX Nasal CPAP Mask

What you'll need for this system:
  1. Headgear, part number 62110, found here for $31.00: ResMed Mirage FX Headgear
  2. Frame, part number 62112, found here for $78.00: ResMed Mirage FX Frame System
Again, total cost of $109.00 is the same as purchasing the "complete" version of this mask.

Mirage FX Headgear

Mirage FX Frame With Cushion

ResMed Quattro Air Full Face CPAP Mask

What you'll need for this system:
  1. Headgear, part number 62756, found here for $31.00: ResMed Quattro Air Headgear
  2. Frame, part number 62754, found here for $145.00: ResMed Quattro Air Frame System
As in our other examples, the total cost of these separate parts add up to $176.00, the same as if you had purchased the complete mask with a prescription.

Quattro Air Frame With Cushion

Quattro Air Headgear

Every single CPAP mask made by ResMed can be configured using this method, with no prescription required:

This is how simple it is to bypass the FDA requirement for a prescription. 

Please understand that the information in this article is directed at persons who reside in the United States; no U.S. based website of which I am aware will ship any ResMed product outside the U.S. If any of them do, they risk being "cut off" by ResMed as an authorized dealer. Additionally, any website which sells these products at a price less than that established by the ResMed Minimum Internet Retail Price (MIRP) may not be able to honor the 30-Day Mask Satisfaction Guarantee.

Please leave a comment if you have any experiences to share related to buying a CPAP mask without a prescription.

Thanks for reading!