Do Medical Devices Require A Prescription?

In the medical world, caution is not always an option, and working in this field or handling anything related to it requires certification. Medical devices aid health workers in discharging duties and handling specific tasks that would otherwise be impossible. The devices are categorized into two - those that require a prescription and those that don't.

Medical Devices that Require Prescription

A prescription is written consent by any physician directing a patient how or when to use the medical drug or device. Besides providing directions of use, prescriptions also help patients replace or upgrade their medical devices. Such devices are not authorized for home use or handling by anyone not licensed to do so. They range from mechanical devices and test kits to complex software programs. They often require specialized skills to handle and issue them to patients. Medical devices that require prescriptions include:- heart pacemakers, prescription glasses, radiation machines, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines, baby incubators, defibrillators, surgical kits, and many more. Using such devices without a license or a prescription could have legal repercussions, which can escalate to fines or jail time.

Medical Devices that don't Require a Prescription

Not all medical devices require a prescription or specialized skills to handle them. Most of these devices are sold over the counter, and anyone can have access to them. Most of them come with a user manual with instructions on how to use and operate them. Such devices include pregnancy test kits, Over-the-Counter test kits like DNA kits, bandages, first aid kits, and many more. The take-home medical device supplies are crucial for home emergencies or personal use. However, it's always best to seek medical assistance if you use the devices for the first time. 

How to Know if a Medical Device Requires a Prescription

Sometimes it can get confusing when dealing with medical devices and not knowing which ones require a prescription. Since not everyone has the medical background or the experience to differentiate between the two classes of medical devices, there are some steps you can take to if the device you have requires a prescription. They include:

Talk to a Medical Professional

Seeking out a doctor's opinion or a medical physician is the easiest way of knowing if the device requires a prescription. Besides clarifying the issue, they'll even provide you with a necessary prescription to help you avoid any legal actions. 

Check the FDA Database

FDA maintains an updated database highlighting different types of medical devices. Additionally, you can learn how the device works and its purpose. 


Medical devices have come a long way in revolutionizing and modernizing the medical field. Those that are crucial and might affect you health-wise require a prescription, while those designed for personal use don't. Contact a medical device expert if you have questions regarding these devices.