Do You Need a Prescription for Oxygen Concentrator Or Not?

Oxygen Concentrators
Why'd do I need a prescription for an oxygen concentrator?

In accordance with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), oxygen concentrators are considered a Class II Medical Device. This means that you must have a valid prescription from a board-certified doctor in order to purchase one.

Why Do You Need a Prescription for an Oxygen Concentrator?

The FDA seeks to ensure that oxygen supplies, including oxygen concentrators, are being properly distributed to patients with genuine medical need. Patients who receive prescriptions include those with asthma, pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How Do You Get an RX for an Oxygen Concentrator?

Talk to your doctor if you think you may need a prescription for an oxygen concentrator. If necessary, your doctor will perform tests to evaluate your blood oxygen levels. Your doctor may even test to see if blood oxygen levels change during exercise or sleep.

One of the most common tests is called an ABG test, or arterial blood gas. This requires the physician to draw blood and test blood gases.

Who Gives You a Prescription for an Oxygen Concentrator?

With the results of these tests, your doctor will write a prescription defining your oxygen level needs. These needs include the dosage of oxygen, often written in liters per minute (LPM). Some physicians will include the type of concentrator they feel is best – a portable oxygen concentrator or a home/stationary unit. They will also indicate how often you require oxygen therapy (daily, during exercise, while sleeping, etc.).

Along with your primary care physician, a pulmonologist may also write a prescription for oxygen therapy.

Choosing an Oxygen Concentrator Based on Your Prescription

Your prescription will make it easier to select the best oxygen concentrator for your needs. Here is an explanation of the guidelines provided in your prescription.

Continuous Flow or Pulse Dose

There are two types of oxygen delivery when it comes to oxygen concentrators: continuous flow and pulse dose. Continuous flow means that you require a constant, steady supply of oxygen and will most likely need a home/stationary oxygen concentrator. If your prescription calls for pulse dose oxygen, your needs are likely less severe. Pulse dose oxygen is delivered in short bursts, triggered by a patient’s inhalation. Portable oxygen concentrators are best suited for pulse dose oxygen needs.

Flow Settings

Your prescription will also define specific oxygen level needs. If you are prescribed a continuous flow oxygen concentrator, your prescription will assign how much oxygen per minute you will need. Be sure the machine you select has the capacity your prescription requires. 

The same applies for a pulse flow oxygen concentrator. Look for a machine that has the capacity of the pulse setting prescribed. It is important to note that a prescription of 2 LPM is not the same as a prescription for a pulse setting of 2. Consult with your doctor to determine what pulse setting best matches your continuous flow setting. Do not change settings without first talking to your doctor.

Purchasing Your Oxygen Concentrator with a Prescription

The Oxygen Concentrator Supplies Shop has a wide variety of both home and portable oxygen concentrators to choose from. Simply upload your prescription online or email it to one of our customer care representatives. For additional questions or assistance selecting the best oxygen concentrator to match your prescription, give us a call at 888-941-1688 or email us at