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Hims and Roman are both rising telemedicine brands that seek to give customers treatment services for erectile dysfunction (ED) and other 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.
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 full-service telemedicine for men’s health, Hims provides digital management tools for appointments, prescriptions, and generic medications for common ED treatments like sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).
Hims also has services and treatment offerings for:
Hims has also created partner brand Hers. Hers emphasizes addressing women’s healthcare needs and the digital management of appointments, prescriptions, and treatments.
Roman is an offshoot of a company called Ro. It was founded in 2017 as an “end-to-end” healthcare service. Their services are aimed directly at consumers, with minimal obstruction from healthcare professionals, physicians, and pharmacies.
Since their founding, Roman has aggressively advertised this service. They’ve 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. This includes:
- making appointments
- getting prescriptions
- having easy access to a physician to guide you through your questions and concerns
Ro also operates two other major brands:
- Rory for women’s health
- Zero for quitting smoking
|Premature ejaculation (PE) treatments||sertraline|
|Hair loss treatments||finasteride and minoxidil spray|
thickening shampoo and conditioner
|topical finasteride and minoxidil|
$15 for hair loss treatments
$59 per dose for ED treatments
$21 per month for PE treatments
$16 for hair loss treatments
$2 per dose for ED and PE treatments
|Customer reviews||A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating||A+ BBB rating|
|Shipping||free shipping, discreet packaging||free 2-day shipping, discreet packaging|
|Insurance||not covered by insurance||not covered by insurance|
Here is a high level overview of some of the pros and cons of the Hims and Roman platforms and ED treatments.
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 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.” This means that physicians have found therapeutic use for a medication outside of what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for.
Hims treatments for ED
- Sildenafil (Viagra). This oral tablet was originally created to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Known as a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, Viagra 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.
- Tadalafil (Cialis). This is another PDE5 inhibitor oral tablet meant to treat ED.
- Avanafil (Stendra). Avanafil is another PDE5 inhibitor oral tablet for ED.
- Sertraline. This oral tablet that’s used off label for PE has the same active ingredient as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Zoloft. For PE, 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 (Viagra). This PDE5 inhibitor treats ED and is sold as an oral tablet.
- Tadalafil (Cialis). Roman offers this popular PDE5 inhibitor for ED as well.
- Sertraline. Roman offers a generic version of the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft 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. This results 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. This allows your body to 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 called “action potential.” But you can get too stimulated and ejaculate earlier than you’d like.
Benzocaine and lidocaine help block sodium channels so that nerve signals can’t take place. This means you’ll feel less sensation or none at all, so you aren’t overstimulated by the sensation of sex or masturbation.
Some people find this helps them with performance and lowers some anxiety around sex.
Here’s how the costs stack up between each company for common ED medications.
|sildenafil||$4 per use||$2–$10 per dose|
|Viagra||$70 per use||$70 per dose|
|tadalafil||$99 per month based on daily doses||$8–$44 per dose|
|Cialis||$525 per month based on daily doses||$17–$69 per dose|
|sertraline||$24 per month||$24 per month|
|avanafil||$59 per use||not offered|
|premature ejaculation spray (0.18 fluid ounces)||$29||not offered|
|benzocaine wipes||$19 for starter pack||$22–$27 per month|
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. 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 their 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. 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. Although 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. These can give you the most broad, unbiased sense of what to expect from these companies based on personal experience.
Here’s what customers have 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 almost 900 Trustpilot reviews with an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Here are common reports in Trustpilot reviews about Hims and their products:
Hims is currently rated at 1.24 out of 5 stars on the BBB website from over 90 customer reviews. Many of the reviews cover the same concerns listed above.
Roman customer reviews
Like Hims, Roman does not offer refunds on prescription medications for regulatory reasons. However, if you feel that the company made an error filling your prescription, you can email them for a resolution.
Roman currently has only 2 Trustpilot reviews, with an average rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars. At the time of writing, one Trustpilot review refers to a hiring incident that has little to do with the company’s products, and the other complains about the pricing.
Roman is currently rated at 1.5 out of 5 stars on the BBB website from 10 customer reviews.
Here’s an overview of what customers have to say on the BBB website:
Both Hims and Roman are relatively young companies and don’t have extensive track records. 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 build up before a lawsuit can 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 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 milligrams (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, or 2.5 mg daily||10 mg, or 5 mg for ages 65 years and older||100 mg|
|Take it when?||30–60 minutes before sex||30 minutes before sex||60 minutes before sex||15 minutes before sex for 100 mg and 200 mg, 30 minutes before sex for 50 mg|
|Length of effectiveness||4 hours||around 36 hours||4–5 hours||6 hours|
|Storage||68–77°F (20–25°C)||25°C (77°F)||25°C (77°F)||68–77°F (20–25°C)|
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
- sore throat
- back pain
- runny nose
- upset stomach
- erection longer than 4 hours (priapism)
- blurry vision
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
|ED treatments||chewable sildenafil and tadalafil||sildenafil|
|PE treatments||not offered||sildenafil|
|Hair loss treatments||not offered||finasteride||finasteride|
|Price||$20 for 30 doses||starting at:|
$60 for 3-month supply for hair loss treatment
$1 per pill for PE
$2–$8 per pill for ED
$10 per month
|Customer reviews||2.33/5 rating on BBB based on 3 customer reviews||4.07/5 rating on BBB based on 99 customer reviews||2.46/5 on BBB based on 28 customer reviews|
|Shipping||$5 per shipment, discreet packaging||free shipping, discreet packaging||$3 per shipment|
|Insurance||not covered by insurance||not covered by insurance||not covered by insurance|
Are Hims and Roman the same?
No. Although they are both men’s health brands, Hims and Roman are not owned by the same parent company. Both companies provide healthcare services, medications, and treatment options for common issues, such as hair loss, skin concerns, and ED.
Are Roman and Hims covered by insurance?
No, Roman and Hims are not covered by insurance.
Do Hims and Roman work for ED?
Hims and Roman offer brand-name and generic medications for ED, such as Viagra, sildenafil, Cialis, tadalafil, and avanafil. Whether or not those medications work for ED depends on the individual and the cause of the ED.
Both Hims and Roman aim for the same goal: easing access to sexual health and wellness, while also helping to remove the stigma around medical issues like ED.
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.