Side effects from recalled Philips sleep apnea devices include respiratory illnesses, organ damage, and possibly cancer. These defective devices have sound abatement foam that degrades, causing victims to ingest small particles and carcinogenic chemicals.
Shouse Law Group is bringing Philips CPAP lawsuits against the medical device manufacturer in pursuit of the largest financial settlement possible under the law to compensate victims for all medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In this article, our mass tort attorneys discuss:
- 1. What are side effects of Philips CPAP machines?
- 2. How do I prevent side effects?
- 3. What should I do if I have side effects?
1. What are side effects of Philips CPAP machines?
1.1. Recalled devices
The four million CPAP, BiPAP and mechanical ventilators that Philips recalled on June 14, 2021 suffer from sound abatement foam degradation. This is causing users to ingest small foam particulates as well as inhale toxic chemicals off-gassed by the foam, including:
- toluene diamine,
- toluene diisocyanate,
- diethylene glycol,
- dimethyl diazine and
- phenol, 2,6-bis (1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-(1-methylpropyl)-.
These recalled Philips devices can potentially lead to unusual or serious side effects, such as:
- Any type of cancer since the carcinogenic foam particles and gases – once ingested – can travel anywhere in the body through the bloodstream and airways
- Respiratory tract problems, including asthma and inflammation – which can exacerbate symptoms of people with lung disease
- Liver-, kidney-, and other organ damage
1.2. Safe devices
Users of un-recalled Philips sleep apnea devices may experience the same normal side effects as users of non-Philips devices. In many cases side effects lessen as the users grow used to the device. Or else the patient’s physician or respiratory therapist can show them ways to adjust the device to minimize and alleviate side effects.
Typical, unalarming side effects of safe CPAP and BiPAPs may include:
- Dryness in the nasal cavity or inflammation. This can manifest as nosebleeds.
- Runny nose.
- Dryness in the eyes or irritation. This is typically caused from air leaking out of the mask and nose ducts, which can carry bacteria.
- Pressure or pain in the middle ear.
- Marks on the skin where the mask presses on the face. Liners can decrease these impressions.
- Skin sores or rashes, which may be prevented by adjusting the mask’s fit. Topical creams could expedite healing.
- Repetitive air swallowing, formally called aerophagy or aerophagia. This could lead to gas pains, flatulence, and/or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
- Insomnia from the machine’s noise and general discomfort of wearing the mask. This becomes less prevalent as the patient gets used to the device over time.
- Disrupted sleep from air leaking out of the mask. This may be more common with masks that cover both the nose and mouth (oronasal) than those that cover just the nose.
A side effect that requires immediate attention is that new CPAP users may develop a respiratory infection. Bacteria in the mask can also cause an infection. Users should therefore follow all instructions to keep the mask sterile and clean and contact their physician and soon as they suspect they may have an infection.
Or if the mask is too tight, CPAP use can result in teeth shifting position or even chipping. A respiratory therapist can help users adjust the mask to minimize dental problems.
Finally, young patients who use the mask for a long time may have reduced face growth. So parents should consult their children’s pediatricians about possible ways to prevent this.2
1.2.1. Weight loss and other benefits
The science suggests that patients who use sleep apnea devices and reduce calories lose more weight than non-device users. Research also suggests that CPAP users may lower their body fat and BMI.
In addition, CPAP users not only achieve a decrease in sleep apnea. They may also experience:
- Better concentration and alertness from getting better sleep;
- A decreased risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and accidents; and/or
- No more snoring.3
2. How do I prevent side effects?
Users of one of the recalled Philips sleep apnea devices are advised to consult with their doctor right away to discuss getting a replacement device.
Otherwise, users of unrecalled sleep apnea devices may be able to prevent or decrease side effects with the following tricks:
- Ensure that the mask fits as snugly as possible without being too tight. This may require consulting with a respiratory therapist. Liners or pads can help keep the mask comfortable while preventing air leaks.
- Using a chinstrap during sleep may help users avoid dry mouth.
- Attach a humidifier and/or use nasal spray to keep nasal passages from drying out.
- Wear the mask while awake to get used to the sensation and prevent claustrophobia.
- Talk to the doctor or respiratory therapist about adjusting the air pressure settings.4
3. What should I do if I have side effects?
Every patient who uses a sleep apnea device should check whether it is one of the four million recalled Philips CPAPs, Bi-level PAPs or mechanical ventilators. If so, patients should consult with their doctor immediately and call Shouse Law Group to discuss filing a lawsuit. Victims may be able to recover substantial settlements for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Otherwise, patients experiencing disruptive side effects from safe sleep apnea devices are encouraged to contact their physician or respiratory therapist. They are skilled in all the ways to adjust the mask and machine to increase comfort and efficacy.
Furthermore, sleep apnea device users should keep their devices clean using approved cleaning methods only. Otherwise, harmful bacteria may travel through the airways and cause infections and other problems.
- Certain Philips Respironics Ventilators, BiPAP, and CPAP Machines Recalled Due to Potential Health Risks: FDA Safety Communication, U.S. Food And Drug Administration (June 30, 2021). Medical Device Recall Notification, Philips Respironics Sleep and Respiratory Care devices, Philips. Philips issues recall notification* to mitigate potential health risks related to the sound abatement foam component in certain sleep and respiratory care devices, Philips (June 14, 2021).
- Andrea Matsumura, MD and Seema Khosla, MD (reviewed by), What is CPAP Therapy? American Academy of Sleep Medication (August 2020). Ulander, M. et al., Side effects to continuous positive airway pressure treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea: changes over time and association to adherence, Sleep Breath (February, 2014). Ghadiri, M. & Grunstyein, R.R., Clinical side effects of continuous positive airway pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea, Respirology (March 24, 2020).
- Mao, Yuanjie & Goulden, P.A. at University of Arkansas for Medical Studies, The Impact of CPAP on Intensive Calorie Restriction Weight Loss. ENDOExpo (March 23, 2019). Sharma, S.K. et al., CPAP for the Metabolic Syndrome in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, New England Journal of Medicine (December 15, 2011).
- See note 1. Sleep and Respiratory Care update Clinical information for physicians, Philips (June 14, 2021). CPAP machines: Tips for avoiding 10 common problems, Mayo Clinic.