Hims and Roman are both rising telemedicine brands that seek to give customers treatment services for erectile dysfunction (ED) and other men’s health issues without relying on traditional healthcare systems.
But how do these two companies, their products, and their services stack up?
We’ll do a deep dive into each company, how they compare, and how you can decide which one may work for your needs.
Here is a high-level overview of some of the pros and cons of Hims and Roman platforms and ED treatments.
- Having online consultations and getting your ED medications delivered may help you get the treatments you need if you aren’t mobile or want an alternative to in-person treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Hims and Roman medications are delivered in discreet packaging, so you may be able to keep your treatments more private by not having to use another online account that may be shared or have treatments delivered in obvious, unambiguous packages.
- Both companies accept a wide variety of online payment options.
- Both companies employ licensed providers whose licenses and other credentials are easily accessible through the company website.
- ED medications may still not work if you need dietary, lifestyle, and mental health changes to treat your symptoms. Diet and lifestyle treatments may be more effective if these are the source of your ED symptoms, and they’re much cheaper.
- Both companies clearly state that their services are not meant to be replacements for primary care providers who can provide more detailed and holistic treatment plans for your overall health.
- Physicians employed by these companies may not have enough knowledge of your overall health to prescribe the right medication for you. It’s important to be thorough on your questionnaire or medical history and to answer your physician’s questions honestly for the best advice and prescriptions.
- The doctors may be general physicians rather than specialists in men’s health or urologists.
- Both companies may be more expensive than what is provided by your insurance plan.
- Hims has a broader selection of medications but is generally more expensive.
- These services are not available in all states.
In addition to their telemedicine services, both Hims and Roman offer ED treatments. Here’s a brief overview of what each company offers.
Keep in mind that many of these ED treatments are similar in how they work, but they may come in different dosages that take different lengths of time to work and may be taken at different intervals (such as daily or weekly).
Some medications used to treat ED are prescribed “off-label,” meaning physicians have found therapeutic use for a medication outside of what the FDA approved it for.
A good rule of thumb when taking any medication you haven’t used before, whether it’s completely new to you or from a different manufacturer or supplier, is to note how you feel and any side effects. Discuss this with your doctor to follow up on.
Though the FDA may approve a category of medications with active ingredients like sildenafil or tadalafil, versions on the market may contain additional ingredients or have different dosages that can affect you differently.
Hims treatments for ED
- sildenafil: originally created to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), this oral tablet, known as a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, treats the inability to get an erection, or ED. It helps smooth muscle relax so blood vessels allow more blood flow into the penis for an erection.
- sildenafil citrate (Viagra): slightly different in its exact ingredients from sildenafil, this PDE5 inhibitor oral tablet is essentially a generic form of Viagra for ED treatment and works similarly to sildenafil.
- tadalafil (Cialis): another PDE5 inhibitor oral tablet meant to treat ED.
- avanafil (Stendra): another PDE5 inhibitor oral tablet for ED.
- sertraline: this oral tablet that’s used off-label for premature ejaculation has the active ingredient of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Zoloft. For premature ejaculation, sertraline helps you last longer before ejaculating during sex or masturbation.
- lidocaine spray: this spray-on numbing agent helps reduce nerve sensation so that you can potentially last longer before you ejaculate.
Roman treatments for ED
- sildenafil: this PDE5 inhibitor treats ED and is sold as an oral tablet.
- sildenafil citrate (Viagra): Roman also offers a generic version of Viagra as oral tablets.
- tadalafil (Cialis): Roman offers this popular PDE5 inhibitor for ED as well.
- sertraline: Roman offers a generic version of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Zoloft as an oral tablet as an off-label treatment for premature ejaculation, too.
- benzocaine wipes: sold as “Roman swipes,” these wipes are pre-moistened with 4 percent benzocaine, a numbing agent that can reduce sensation in your penis so that you last longer during sex.
Sildenafil and tadalafil
Typically, when your penis nerves are stimulated, smooth muscles around spongy tissue in your penis called the corpus cavernosa relax and let blood flow into this tissue to engorge it, resulting in an erection.
With ED, this process is disrupted.
Sildenafil and tadalafil are in a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors.
These medications stop production of the enzyme PDE5 so that your body can produce higher levels of nitric oxide and relax your penis muscles, letting sufficient blood flow into the penis for an erection.
Lidocaine and benzocaine
Typically, stimulated nerves in your penis use sodium to communicate signals to the central nervous system (CNS) called “action potential.” But you can get too stimulated and ejaculate earlier than you’d like.
Benzocaine and lidocaine help reduce or halt sodium production and interrupt nerve sensitivity. This means you’ll feel less sensation or none at all so that you aren’t overstimulated by the sensation of sex or masturbation.
Some people find this helps them with performance and reduces some anxiety around sex.
Here’s how the costs stack up between each company for common ED medications.
Exact pricing for Hims products is not immediately transparent on the website, but here’s a quick breakdown of the advertised starting price for each ED product offered by Hims, primarily based on per month costs.
- sildenafil: $30
- Viagra: $425
- tadalafil: $240 per month based on daily doses
- Cialis: $570 per month based on daily doses
- sertraline: $29
- avanafil: $116
- premature ejaculation spray (0.18 fluid ounces): $29
Here’s a quick overview of how much Roman charges for its ED medications:
- sildenafil (generic Revatio): $2–$10 per tablet; $2 per 20-mg tablet, available as a 20-mg, 40-mg, 60-mg, 80-mg, and 100-mg oral tablet
- generic Viagra: $34 for one 25-mg, 50-mg, or 100-mg oral tablet (around $31 per month for 12 doses of 20 mg each)
- Viagra:$70 for one 25-mg, 50-mg, or 100-mg oral tablet
- generic Cialis: $11 for one 2.5-mg or 5-mg oral tablet, or $44 for one 10-mg or 20-mg oral tablet
- daily generic Cialis: $8 for one 2.5-mg or 5-mg oral tablet
- Cialis: $17 for one 2.5-mg or 5-mg oral tablet, or $69 for one 10-mg or 20-mg oral tablet
- sertraline: $24 for 1-month supply
- benzocaine wipes: $22 per month for 3-month supply of 24 wipes (or $27 per month for a 1-month supply of 8 wipes)
Each brand has a slightly different process for getting you set up with a physician and the ED medications you may need.
Here’s how each brand’s process works.
Physician’s assessment via Hims
Here’s what to expect when you use Hims for medical consultations and prescription services:
- You’ll answer a brief questionnaire describing what you’re looking for based on your symptoms and previous experience with ED products.
- Hims will tell you whether you’re covered and whether a licensed physician is available based on your location.
- You’ll create an online user account and supply a government-issued ID as well as a brief medical history and answers to questions about your lifestyle.
- A licensed physician will contact you about your submission, and you’ll receive a brief consultation with recommendations, prescriptions, or treatment plans.
- Your prescription is submitted, and you’ll get any approved medications through the mail.
Physician’s assessment via Roman
Here’s generally what you can expect when you consult with Roman and its physicians before receiving a prescription or any other treatment:
- You’ll create an online user account with a user ID, blood pressure reading, and medical history.
- You’ll be connected with a licensed physician or nurse practitioner for an appointment and evaluation through a video chat.
- Your physician will encourage you to get any necessary lab tests, and they will examine them at no extra cost.
- Your physician will reach back out to you once they analyze your tests and give you a recommendation, treatment plan, or prescription.
- Your prescription is created, and you’ll receive your approved medications through the mail.
- You can reach back out to your physician at any time with questions, concerns, or for a further consultation.
Both Hims and Roman have many positive and negative customer reviews. And though each company may promise easier alternatives to traditional healthcare, the marketing bluster can sometimes be deceiving.
It’s worth checking out official company websites as well as third-party review sites, such as Trustpilot, to get the most broad, unbiased sense of what to expect from these companies based on personal experience.
Here’s what customers had to say, both positive and negative, about each of these brands.
Hims customer reviews
Hims doesn’t offer refunds on certain prescription medications due to regulatory controls around selling and reselling medications.
But as their website states, Hims does allow you to pause or cancel any subscription service without charge if you pause or cancel at least 48 hours before your next scheduled purchase or delivery.
Hims currently has over 700 Trustpilot reviews with an average rating of 4.2/5 stars.
Here are common reports in Trustpilot reviews about Hims and their products:
Hims pros, according to customers
- discreet packaging
- products work as intended, including unexpected effects like more stamina from ED products
- website is easy to use and understand
- orders and subscriptions are easy to start
Hims cons, according to customers
- late or unreceived shipments
- difficulty reaching customer service representatives, with waits up to 2 weeks for responses or longer
- subscription charges that weren’t authorized and then not refunded for months
- difficulty canceling orders
- unintended side effects, such as rashes, from using skin care products
Hims is currently rated at 1.54/5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website from over 120 customer reviews. Many of the reviews cover the same concerns as have been listed above.
Roman customer reviews
As with Hims, Roman does not offer refunds on prescription medications for regulatory reasons. But as their website states, prescriptions created in error may be refundable if the medication was never used.
Roman currently has only 1 Trustpilot review with an average rating of 3.2/5 stars. At the time of writing, the single Trustpilot review referred to a hiring incident that had little to do with the company’s products.
Roman is currently rated at 2.33/5 stars on the BBB website from less than 10 customer reviews.
Here’s an overview of what customers had to say on the BBB website:
Roman considerations based on customer comments
- lack of timely responses from customer service representatives
- unauthorized charges for canceled subscriptions
- subscriptions being charged but never delivered
- concerns about personal information privacy
- lack of flexibility in choosing doctor for telemedicine appointments
Both Hims and Roman are relatively young companies and don’t have an extensive track record. This means that most of the complaints and legal action taken against these companies may not be publicly available.
It can take years for enough consumer reports and evidence to be built up for a lawsuit to be successfully filed and taken to court. But here’s what we were able to find that may be relevant to each of these companies.
To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not released any warning letters targeting any products or services from Hims. No lawsuits have been filed publicly against the company, either.
As with Hims, no FDA warning letters or lawsuits against the Roman brand or the Ro company have been issued or filed to date.
Here’s how each of the ED medications provided by these two companies are generally used.
|Forms||oral tablet||oral tablet||oral tablet||oral tablet|
|Strengths||25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg||2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg||5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg||50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg|
|Dosage||50 mg||10 mg (as needed); 2.5 mg (daily)||10 mg; 5 mg (for men ages 65 years and up)||100 mg|
|Take it when?||30–60 min. before sex||30 min. before sex||60 min. before sex||15 min, before sex (100 mg and 200 mg); 30 min. before sex (50 mg)|
|Length of efficacy||4 hours||around 36 hours||4–5 hours||6 hours|
|Storage||68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C)||25°C (77°F)||25°C (77°F)||68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C)|
General tips on taking generic medications
Taking generic versions of FDA-approved medications for ED that you purchase online, especially sildenafil and tadalafil, can be tricky.
Read the ingredients carefully and compare them to FDA-approved versions before deciding to take them.
The FDA has not specifically examined all versions of these medications on the market. Some ingredients in these generic forms may not be listed or may have different side effects than you may be used to if you’ve taken ED medications from other suppliers.
Here are some common side effects that you should watch out for when you use any of the medications offered by Hims and Roman.
PDE5 inhibitor side effects
Side effects of PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil, tadalafil, and avanafil include:
- flushed skin
- achy muscles
- throat soreness
- pain in your back
- runny nose
- upset stomach
- erection longer than 4 hours (priapism)
- vision blurriness
Sertraline side effects
Side effects of sertraline can include:
- feeling nauseous
- losing your appetite
- upset stomach
- feeling sleepy
- having trouble falling asleep
- sweating a lot (hyperhidrosis)
- feeling shaky
- feeling exhausted
- feeling agitated
Benzocaine side effects
Benzocaine is a common numbing agent and is generally considered safe. It’s even used to help numb you before dental procedures.
Here are some uncommon but possible side effects of benzocaine:
- skin flaking
- skin feeling tender where you wiped
- feeling itchy
- feeling burning
- feeling stinging
- warmth or skin redness
About the Hims company
Hims is a men’s health brand founded in late 2017 when, as the story goes, the sister of founder Andrew Dudum commented on Dudum’s skin issues.
Focused on providing full-service telemedicine for men’s health, Hims provides digital management tools for appointments, prescriptions, and generic medications for common ED treatments like
Hims also has services and treatment offerings for hair loss, skin care, mental health, and even a home COVID-19 saliva test.
Hims has also created partner brand Hers, which emphasizes addressing women’s healthcare needs and digital management of appointments, prescriptions, and treatments.
About the Roman company
Roman is an offshoot of a company called Ro founded in 2017 as an “end-to-end” healthcare service aimed directly at consumers, with minimal obstruction from healthcare professionals, physicians, and pharmacies.
Since their founding, Roman has aggressively advertised this service and become a recognized brand in the men’s health space, especially for their generic Viagra (sildenafil) and generic Cialis (tadalafil).
Roman’s primary service is helping you access healthcare on their platform, including making appointments, getting prescriptions, and having easy access to a physician to guide you through questions and concerns you have.
Ro also operates two other major brands:
- Rory for women’s health
- Zero for quitting smoking
Both Hims and Roman aim to solve the same problem: easing access to sexual health and wellness while also helping to remove the stigma around medical issues like ED that can be a source of anxiety and embarrassment.
The choice is ultimately up to you, as both companies have their pros and cons — but the choice should be centered around what service works for you and which one you believe will address your specific health needs.