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Philips CPAP Side Effects

Philips CPAP machines may cause common short-term side effects, including skin irritation, nasal dryness and insomnia. Some Philips CPAP devices have been recalled after the potential for severe side effects such as cancer, organ damage and airway inflammation was discovered.

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Last Modified: September 20, 2023
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Common CPAP Side Effects

Common Philips CPAP side effects may include dry eye, respiratory infections, skin irritation and nasal inflammation. Many patients cite discomfort due to improper air pressure and from the mask itself. Recalled Phillips CPAP machines may cause more serious side effects, including cancer.

Users of continuous positive airway pressure machines may experience common side effects periodically, even after the initial adjustment period.

Potential CPAP side effects include:
  • Aerophagia: Abdominal discomfort, acid reflux or flatulence due to swallowing pressurized air
  • Air Leakage: May disrupt sleep
  • Dry Eye: Typically caused by air passing through nose ducts, air leakage or bacteria trapped by the mask
  • Ear Pressure/Pain: Middle ear pressure caused by breathing through CPAP machines
  • Face Growth Issues: Reduced facial growth in children because of prolonged usage
  • Insomnia: Sleep issues caused by CPAP machine noise or adjustment period
  • Nasal Inflammation or Dryness: Nasal discomfort from continuous pressurized airflow
  • Respiratory Infections: Often caused by bacteria in the mask or air pathway
  • Skin Irritations: Rashes, sores or marks due to a mask’s composition or fit
  • Tooth Shifting or Chipping: Dental issues resulting from tight chin straps or tongue position

Some patients also report feeling claustrophobic when wearing the CPAP mask. Discuss all side effects with your physician. Pressure adjustments or using a different mask may alleviate your problems. You may also ask your doctor about alternatives to CPAP to treat your sleep apnea.

Side Effects Linked to Recalled Philips CPAP Machines

Many CPAP machine side effects are minor and short-lived, requiring minimal intervention. However, manufacturer Philips discovered that some of its devices might cause potentially severe or life-threatening side effects, including a possible link to cancer.

In July 2022, Philips released a study of the link between its devices and cancer. According to Philips, “Based on 13 epidemiological studies identified from the systematic literature review, no association has been established between use of PAP devices, including Philips Respironics PAP devices, and risk of cancer in patients with OSA.”

Philips issued a CPAP recall for some models of its machines in June 2021. The FDA issued another recall in September 2022 because some Philips masks include magnets that may interfere with metallic implants, possibly causing severe injuries.

Since the initial recall, Philips has produced millions of repair kits and new devices. The FDA continues to monitor medical device reports and update the original safety communication associated with the recalled Philips machines.

Long-Term Side Effects From Recalled Philips CPAP Machines

Because recalled devices may cause potentially serious side effects, several people who used Philips’ recalled devices are filing Philips CPAP lawsuits. The lawsuits claim Philips manufactured a defective device and failed to adequately warn users of the risks.

Philips initiated its June 2021 recall because it discovered that the PE-PUR foam used in its CPAP devices to reduce sound could degrade or break down. Patients could inhale or swallow foam particles or gases emitted from the foam. The PE-PUR foam material poses a potential health risk according to studies, including:

  • Abdominal cancers
  • Asthma
  • Hematopoietic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Mammary gland cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Organ damage
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Respiratory issues

Ingested or inhaled PE-PUR foam particles or chemical gases may lead to carcinogenic, toxic or respiratory side effects. Philips found poisonous chemicals in particles and gases, including toluenediamine, toluene diisocyanate, diethylene glycol, dimethyl diazine and phenol, 2,6-bis (1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-(1-methylpropyl)-. If you have intense side effects after using your recalled Philips CPAP machine, speak to your health care provider to assess your risk.

Managing CPAP Side Effects

Using a CPAP machine is an effective treatment for sleep apnea. However, some patients may not feel comfortable with them because of their side effects. Getting used to a CPAP machine takes time.

Your physician can work with you to relieve much of your discomfort. Mask issues are among the most prevalent, but minor adjustments or trying different masks can help overcome your problems. Using mask liners or pads can prevent skin irritation, and using a nasal spray or attaching a humidifier to your CPAP machine may reduce the risk of having a dry, stuffy nose.

If you experience long-term CPAP side effects such as cancer, your oncologist or other specialists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience severe reactions to your use of a CPAP machine, seek immediate medical attention. Your physician may make adjustments or suggest alternatives in addition to evaluating and addressing your reactions.

If your Philips CPAP device is among those recalled, discuss its continued use with your health care provider. Together, you can make a treatment plan decision that is the most beneficial for you.

Tips for Preventing CPAP Side Effects

You may prevent minor, common CPAP side effects by using and cleaning your machine properly:
  • Adjust your mask for a tight, comfortable fit. If that doesn’t help, try using a different mask.
  • Ease yourself into familiarity with your machine while you’re awake. This may help you avoid claustrophobia. Try holding the mask to your face while the device is off. Then try wearing the mask with straps. Next, try turning on the machine and using it while you sleep. Different-sized masks may also help.
  • Use a chinstrap to keep your mouth closed while you sleep to prevent dry mouth.
  • Slowly ramp up the pressure if your machine has a ramp feature to prevent difficulty with forced air. If your device does not have this feature, talk to your doctor about adjusting the pressure settings. Don’t do this on your own.
  • Clean your tube and mask daily; replace them according to your prescription time frame. Only use cleaning methods and cleaners the manufacturer recommends.

The FDA states that you should not remove the foam from a recalled Philips CPAP machine. Doing so can increase the risk of side effects or damage to the device. Hot, humid conditions and using ozone cleaners can increase the risk of PE-PUR foam degradation.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.