Do I need a prescription to use an oxygen concentrator?

Yes, a doctor's prescription is required to purchase and operate an oxygen concentrator that produces medical-grade oxygen.

Medical-grade oxygen is a medication, and just like any other medication, your doctor must prescribe it with specific instructions regarding how much to use and how often. In high dosages, oxygen becomes toxic and may cause damage the lungs. However, at the low dosages that are prescribed for home use, the risk of lung damage is highly unlikely. Under the supervision of a medical professional, oxygen can improve quality of life and allow patients to resume normal daily activities.

Another reason you must have a prescription for oxygen is that you need to know how much oxygen your body requires. Every patient is different, so your doctor may want to perform a blood test called an arterial blood gas to determine where your normal oxygen levels are when you are breathing natural room air. Your doctor might also perform a walk test with pulse oximetry to check how much your oxygen levels fluctuate during a brief walk. These tests will help your doctor decide if you need to use oxygen at home and what a good starting point would be for you.

Finally, you will not be able to purchase or be reimbursed for an oxygen concentrator without a prescription. It is federally illegal to sell medical-grade oxygen without a prescription, so you must show proof of medical necessity from your doctor or physician to purchase an oxygen concentrator.

Your prescription should include the following:
  • Specifics about oxygen usage/frequency
  • Recommended dosage (liters per minute)
  • Defined delivery device
  • Possible diagnosis
  • Doctors contact information
  • Information for insurance providers
Need assistance getting a prescription? Please click here to Get a Prescription for an Oxygen Concentrator by phone, video or chat.

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