No man wants to suffer from erectile dysfunction, but ED affects about 1/3 of men worldwide.¹ The good news is that safe and effective treatments have emerged over the past couple of decades to help men reliably achieve and maintain erections.
As a comprehensive online men’s health platform, Hims rose to prominence with their erectile dysfunction and hair loss treatments. Their telemedical processes are speedy and straightforward, taking much of the awkwardness out of seeking ED medications in person. Hims ED customers regularly receive shipments of their pills and other products in secure, discreet packaging. But Hims isn’t the only option of this nature. Find out if they’re the right choice for you.
Hims’ ED offerings include effective treatments in generic and brand-name forms. They’re the only major telehealth provider currently prescribing the generic Viagra made by Pfizer — the company that makes original, branded Viagra. Men can also use Hims to find treatments for hair loss and premature ejaculation, which is quite convenient. Pricing is competitive, but navigating costs and billing options can be confusing (if you can find accurate price lists in the first place).
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review whenever possible, including telemedical services like Hims. All told, our team has collectively spent over 300 hours researching erectile dysfunction, its various treatments, and the companies offering them online.
To better understand what it’s like to use Hims, members of our team met with Hims doctors and went through the entire intake process, from sign-up to medication shipment and delivery. Beyond ED services, we’ve also tested Hims’ hair loss treatments, hair care and skincare products, primary care services, and mental health care. Our team read through over 100 clinical studies related to erectile dysfunction and ED treatments. We did not consume the prescription ED medications from Hims, but decades of research and market viability demonstrate a high level of efficacy for the treatments Hims offers. To round out our research, we interviewed men who do rely on Hims’ ED products and others whose partners require these treatments.
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this guide was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy and will continue to be monitored for updates by our editorial team.
We evaluated Hims ED based on the quality and cost of available treatments and the convenience and privacy of the consultation process. Our testing team experienced as much of the Hims ED process as possible, going through the entire sign-up and intake process, as well as receiving medications sent to several different addresses.
Considerations like safety were less of a concern than usual, considering the bevy of research the scientific community has poured into prescription ED medications. There’s nothing about the drugs Hims offers that’s therapeutically different from the ED medications you could get by visiting your doctor or using another telehealth platform to acquire a prescription for the same medications. That said, there are some medications you can find on some competitors’ sites that present different potential side effects compared with the sildenafil, tadalafil, and avanafil Hims offers.
Ultimately, we found Hims to be one of the best places to look online for ED medication. This is even truer for men who are already using Hims or another service to treat hair loss or premature ejaculation or for men who need to start such treatment. Hims has services for those problems, as well as mental health and primary care.
Let’s take a closer look at the most important factors in our Hims evaluation:
Compared to buying these meds on the open market without help from an insurance company, Hims’ ED treatment pricing is very favorable. Their best deals come in generic medications, which are affordable for most men, even without insurance that might cover them. There are a few telehealth services that offer ED medications for a little less per dose than Hims, but those cost differences shrink when you opt for quarterly billing through Hims, which can bring prices down significantly. Most other platforms only have monthly billing options.
Here’s a quick comparison of Hims against their two most prominent competitors, Roman and BlueChew. We’ll compare the cost of Hims sildenafil billed quarterly to the monthly options the others offer, so you can see the potential savings:
|Sildenafil 40-50mg: lowest price per dose||Tadalafil 5-6mg: lowest price per dose||Free shipping?|
That low price on 5mg tadalafil is only available if you get a prescription intended for daily use. But the 5mg pills for daily use are identical to the 5mg pills for as-needed use, and this is where Hims’ own phone support representatives taught us how to get the most bang for our buck. We suggest you do the same.
There’s nothing to stop you from acquiring a 5mg tadalafil prescription for daily use and only taking it as needed. You can even start and stop your subscription so you don’t unintentionally stockpile medication, and then you can restart it whenever you’re close to running out. And you can use this method even if you need a 10mg dose to achieve an erection. You’d just take two 5mg pills and get 15 doses out of every monthly shipment. Compared to the 10mg pills you can get for as-needed use in quantities up to 16 per month, you still save more than $1 per dose. None of our other top-rated telehealth ED services can compete with those prices.
The doctor consultation necessary to acquire a prescription is free, as is any messaging if you need to ask questions about your medications or explore dosage and frequency adjustments. Shipping is also free with Hims, so ultimately, the only cost you incur is the recurring charge for the medication itself.
In their catalog of options, Hims offers the two most popular treatments for ED on the market: Viagra and Cialis. They also have generic versions of both and an authorized generic Viagra (made by the original manufacturer or an approved partner). That not only helps men without insurance to afford the drugs, but it also increases the odds that insurance companies will pick up the tab for men who have coverage. Some insurers will only cover the costs of generics, while others prefer brand-name medications.
Hims also carries Stendra, which has a similar side effect profile to Viagra but has less of an effect on blood pressure, which can be a crucial consideration for some men.² Unfortunately for some insured patients and anyone uninsured, Hims does not offer Stendra’s generic equivalent, avanafil.
Hims also recently began offering chewable mint versions of some of their medications, no doubt to compete with the likes of BlueChew. They currently offer chewable forms of tadalafil, vardenafil, and a combination of tadalafil and sildenafil. They don’t offer a chewable sildenafil on its own, but vardenafil is almost identical to sildenafil, just without the vision side effect that a small percentage of men experience with sildenafil.³
Here’s a quick look at which specific ED medications the top companies carry:
Men looking for a more holistic approach to treating their ED will want to look elsewhere. While Hims does offer non-prescription and supplemental treatments for hair loss and skin care, all of their approaches to treating ED are prescription drugs. However, most non-prescription supplements targeted at ED can only boast studies that rely on much larger doses than the supplement manufacturers provide. It’s also not unusual for a telehealth company offering ED meds not to stock any supplemental alternatives, so we don’t count it against Hims.
Given the sensitive nature of men’s sexual health, good privacy protections are paramount. And there’s a distinction to be made here between protections for your medical information and those covering your online activity in general. On the medical side, Hims operates like any reputable prescription provider, so all of your medical data is protected to the standards set by HIPAA. Those standards strictly limit how your data can be transmitted, stored, and distributed, so you shouldn’t have to worry about your medical information on a Hims database any more than you would worry about your data on a hospital database.
On the online activity side, things are a little murkier, but the potential information involved here is much harder to pin to you personally. It has more to do with the activity of your device and IP address as tracked by cookies, web beacons, and other tools. Hims behaves like most other retail websites in this regard, utilizing your browsing behaviors to improve your experience and target ads in your direction.
One thing Hims offers is a “do not sell my information” button at the bottom of their pages. This button leads to a page with an email address and phone number you can use to contact the company and opt out of their data practices. It’s a nice feature, and not all of their competitors offer it, but some have larger buttons that are easier to see and lead to simpler online interfaces that don’t require an email or phone call for you to opt out. Hims also explicitly states that opting out can significantly degrade site performance. These subtle but practically important differences kept this rating from climbing any higher.
The initial questionnaire used to create your account and establish a baseline for your needs is easy to answer, even if some of the questions are sensitive. Erectile dysfunction is generally a sensitive topic, and not having to look someone in the eye or even talk to someone over the phone while describing your problems is definitely a bonus that comes with using Hims. After your questionnaire, any and all communications with your consulting physician occur through the Hims messaging platform, with most questions receiving answers within 24 hours. Some states’ telemedicine laws require an initial phone call or video chat, and Hims organizes these on their platform as well.
There is one frustrating thing about the order of operations in the consultation, though. Hims has you review medication options and make a selection before you message with a doctor. You can only switch medicines, dosages, or delivery schedules after you make that initial selection. Many men are liable to have questions they’d rather ask beforehand, and this feels a bit like an unnecessary step backward in the process before you reach the finish line. And without any live chat support like you get with some other companies, there’s nowhere you can turn to get answers about individual medications other than each drug’s FAQ section or Hims phone support. And having to call and talk to someone negates the convenience and relative anonymity that the questionnaire and messaging platform are designed to offer.
Overall, the Hims platform is well-designed and simple to navigate. Any investigation of their sexual health products will quickly lead to the page where you can begin a simple questionnaire and a doctor consultation. For many men, that direct approach will be welcome, but if you want to do a deeper dive into a particular medication, it can be frustrating to keep landing on the consultation page instead of the pages where more information exists. Once you’ve made your selection and placed an order for one or more medications or products, Hims shipping is reliably fast.
One aspect that can be frustrating to deal with is Hims’ pricing structures. The site does a poor job of laying out the exact costs for each available dosage and billing frequency. Your doctor and Hims support staff help you make sense of it all, but it would be a lot more efficient if patients could review that information without working for it. And if you find yourself digging into the company’s blog for pricing information by clicking on posts like “Tadalafil Cost: What is the Price of Tadalafil?” you’ll get a combination of vague and often outdated pricing information.
From a safety perspective, there isn’t much to dislike about Hims ED offerings. They deal in three of the most well-researched prescription ED medications on the market, and they network with pharmacies around the U.S. to ensure the distribution of legitimate products. Their rating is bolstered further compared to some of their competition, including purveyors of supplemental ED treatments and other prescription alternatives.
For example, Rugiet is a company that offers a sublingual lozenge drug combining sildenafil, tadalafil, and a third drug called apomorphine. There is some evidence to suggest that combining therapies can increase efficacy without much extra risk, but this company does so with doses that can increase those risk factors more than many men would like. And the addition of apomorphine — which works differently than PDE-5 inhibitors — further complicates the side effects picture.
Thanks to the simplicity of Hims ED offerings and their reliance on medications and approaches with good safety profiles and plenty of scientific research behind them, they earn outstanding ratings for safety.
Hims is a telemedicine company devoted to men’s health, with offerings that go far beyond ED treatment. Their site includes everything from hair loss treatments and sexual health products to primary care and mental health services. Hims continues to evolve, growing their practice in recent years to include skincare, herpes treatments, and several supplements. (You can learn more about these other offerings by visiting our full Hims review.) The majority of their offerings are subscription-based, ensuring that your prescriptions are refilled and shipped regularly and that you have consistent access to healthcare professionals. A sister site — Hers — delivers comparable care for women and includes things like birth control and yeast infection treatment in place of ED and premature ejaculation.
Hims works with doctors from several specialties, all of whom are board-certified and licensed to practice in enough states that they can service anyone in the U.S. Getting connected with a doctor involves filling out a short questionnaire and setting up a time to chat, most often through text on their messaging platform but sometimes via phone or video conference. Most prescriptions ship from one of Hims’ integrated pharmacies, but you can easily receive your medications from a local pharmacy if you live outside their range. This is a pretty standard practice among Hims’ top competitors, and it’s one of the main reasons that these medications ship so quickly.
Hims offers various ED medications, including three brand-name prescriptions and generic versions of the most popular drugs to combat ED. Their current offering consists of the following:
All of these ED treatments are phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors. To be clear, PDE-5 isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it prevents you from having an erection that would never go away. But an abundance of PDE-5 can prevent an erection from happening in the first place.
When you’re aroused (physically, psychologically, or both), your body produces cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), which widens blood vessels and relaxes the smooth muscles in your penis, allowing it to fill with blood and become erect. PDE-5’s role is to degrade CGMP and keep its levels in check.⁴ After climax or the removal of arousing stimulants, your body stops producing all that cGMP, the PDE-5 breaks the last of it down, and your erection fades. By binding to PDE-5, these medications allow cGMP to build up and stay elevated, allowing for an erection to form and stay put until climax.
Insider Tip: A common misconception purports that Viagra will give you an erection when you take it, but the medication will only result in an erection if the man who took it is aroused. Psychosomatic erections resulting from excitement or intrigue after an individual’s first dose may contribute to anecdotal reports of spontaneous erections, but they aren’t the result of the medication in isolation.⁵
Despite the fact that each of these medications is a PDE-5 inhibitor, they aren’t all identical. Viagra, sildenafil, and Stendra are decidedly similar, but there are some important differences among them. And Cialis and tadalafil present the option of a completely different dosing schedule than the others.
Hims ED medications are available on monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annual billing cycles. We generally recommend against anything more than quarterly billing for medication, as many have shelf lives of just two years. A medication you take as needed — like Viagra, for example — might last you longer than that if you get too much at once. We’ll break down what you stand to save by comparing monthly and quarterly billing for each drug below.
Another way to control costs is by carefully choosing your dose level and your monthly quantity. One frustrating thing about Hims’ pricing model is that you don’t always save more money by buying in larger quantities. The six-dose quantities of most sildenafil/Viagra options are all less expensive per dose than others, even the 16-dose orders.
Here’s a list of prices per quarter for sildenafil 60mg:
|Doses||Monthly||Per dose monthly||Quarterly||Per dose quarterly|
If you choose to pay monthly, the price per dose never gets better as your quantity increases. If you pay quarterly, that price per dose fluctuates up and down without a clear logic to it. It’s still better than not being able to choose quarterly billing — which several Hims competitors do not offer — but more clarity in the system would be nice.
Hims offers a handful of ED medications, every one of which has been FDA-approved for use against ED and has been subjected to a significant amount of clinical research leading up to and after their approvals. Their potential side effects and contraindications are well-known. Those treatments include:
Each of these is a PDE-5 inhibitor, which — as part of its ability to improve erectile performance — widens blood vessels. That will lower the blood pressure of anyone taking them, presenting a significant danger to any man taking medication to control blood pressure or suffering from an ailment that lowers it.⁶ You’ll need to submit a recent blood pressure reading to be given a prescription for any PDE-5 inhibitor, and you and your consulting physician will go over your current health state and discuss any current or previous cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary issues.
Beyond the dangers posed to individuals with blood pressure concerns, there are some common side effects associated with PDE-5 use.⁷ They include:
Some of these side effects are caused by the PDE-5 inhibitors working to inhibit the activity of other PDE isoenzymes like PDEs 1, 6, or 11. One uncommon but possible side effect of PDE-6 inhibition is an inability of your vision to distinguish between shades of blue and green. For men who suffer from these collateral PDE inhibition side effects, we’d recommend trying a more targeted inhibitor than sildenafil or tadalafil, like Hims Stendra or chewable vardenafil.⁸
Let’s take a closer look at each medication Hims offers to get a better sense of which might be right for you.
Sildenafil is the most popular and the most affordable option for ED treatment. Developed in the mid-1990s as a treatment for hypertension and angina pectoris, sildenafil is the oldest PDE-5 inhibitor prescribed as an ED treatment. Sildenafil has been the subject of rigorous clinical studies throughout its lifespan, and those studies (as well as millions of patients) confirm its effectiveness.⁹ The original formulation of sildenafil citrate that was patented and marketed as an ED treatment went by the name Viagra — the now-famous “little blue pill.”
Hims offers sildenafil in three forms:
Branded Viagra is the original, and it’s the most expensive form of the drug. Few men will opt for it through Hims due to its high cost, but there are two types of men for whom branded Viagra makes sense.
Understandably, if you’ve tried something to treat your ED and you’ve found it effective, you may not be interested in trying anything else — even if the alternative is therapeutically the same thing, according to the FDA. In this case, if you’ve found branded Viagra to be effective, you might want to stick with it.
Special Offer: FREE ED Doctor Visit
This is a rare occasion, as most insurers will only cover generic drugs when they’re available, but if your insurance only offers you reimbursement on branded Viagra, you’ll certainly prefer it to generics so long as your copay is less than the cost of generic alternatives.
Understanding the difference between the other two sildenafil-based options available through Hims is a little more complicated. Generic Viagra and generic sildenafil may seem like the same thing, but there are subtle, important differences between the two. Generic Viagra is an “authorized generic,” which means it’s made either by the original company (Pfizer, in this case) or by a third party explicitly licensed by Pfizer to produce it. Generic Viagra is identical to the original in every way, but it won’t say Viagra on the prescription bottle — it will likely say sildenafil.
Generic sildenafil citrate, on the other hand, is not produced by Pfizer or an authorized partner. Instead, it’s produced by a third party that has essentially reverse-engineered the original formula and replicated its manufacturing process. FDA regulations demand that these generics be therapeutically identical to the original, but they can come in different doses and include different inactive ingredients like colorants. That’s why generic sildenafil can look very different from the classic “little blue pills.”
No matter whether you opt for branded or generic versions of the drug, the effects are the same. It typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes for sildenafil to take effect, at which point any source of arousal should create an erection of sufficient strength for successful sex. Heavy or fatty meals can slow down the time to efficacy, but the drug generally lasts for about 4-6 hours.
Hims offers branded Viagra at a 50mg dose and generic Viagra in doses of 25mg, 50mg, and 100mg. Generic sildenafil is a little different, as Hims utilizes a formulation that’s therapeutically identical to Viagra but that’s from a dosing schedule originally prescribed for pulmonary arterial hypertension. That allows them to distribute it in 20mg tablets for doses of 20mg, 40mg, 60mg, 80mg, and 100mg.
Each medication is available in quantities of 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 pills per month. That makes Hims one of the best places to go if you aren’t sure how many pills per month you might need — their quantity options are among the most flexible on the market.
Here’s a look at the cost of different quantities and billing cycles for similar dose options:
Insider Tip: If a 20mg dose of sildenafil is all you need to beat back your ED, you can get double the sildenafil for your money by requesting the 40mg dose. Hims charges the same for 20mg and 40mg orders, and they ship both in 20mg tablets regardless of the intended dose per use. That means a four-dose order of 40mg sildenafil gets you eight 20mg tablets for the same price you’d pay for four 20mg tablets with a weaker prescription.
The FDA approved tadalafil for medical use in the U.S. in 2003. It hit the market under the name Cialis. Like the other PDE-5 inhibitors, tadalafil doesn’t start working the moment you swallow the pill; it will take, on average, 30-60 minutes for the tadalafil to become effective.¹⁰ However, once it is effective, you can enjoy sex spontaneously without the degree of planning that other ED treatments require. Tadalafil remains active in the body for anywhere between 18 and 36 hours, depending on the dose and the individual.¹¹ This convenience may be why some studies have found that men and their partners often prefer tadalafil to sildenafil.
Tadalafil provides patients with another modality in addition to as-needed use. Doctors can prescribe tadalafil as a daily medication.¹² These prescriptions are often lower doses than those intended for as-needed use.
At first, it may seem unnecessary for anyone who doesn't have a fairly regular sex life to opt for a daily medication when they can take something else on an as-needed basis and get the same results. But there is an enormous catch here in the way that Hims structures their tadalafil pricing.
Tadalafil for as-needed use costs anywhere between $6.50 and $12.25 per use, depending on the dose. Tadalafil for daily use costs $3.30 per use ordered monthly, or $2.97 per use ordered quarterly. And both modalities have a 5mg dose available.
Here’s what the difference looks like mapped out:
|Tadalafil 2.5mg or 5mg daily||Tadalafil 5mg or 10mg as needed||Tadalafil 5mg or 10mg as needed|
|Per dose monthly cost||$3.30||$7.50||$7.50|
|Per dose quarterly cost||$2.97||$6.50||$7.13|
As you can see, the cost per 5mg of tadalafil is far cheaper when you have a daily prescription, but because the medication is the same either way, you can request a 5mg daily prescription and only take it as needed. When we confirmed this with Hims representatives, they even reminded us that we could cancel and restart your subscription at any time with no fees. So to get the most out of your money, you can get 30 or 120 of the 5mg tadalafil tablets and immediately cancel your subscription. Then you can take them as needed and restart your subscription whenever you’re close to running out.
No other major provider can compete with this price structure for tadalafil.
If you need a dose higher than 10mg, you won’t be able to use that method to save additional money. Here’s what monthly and quarterly orders of 15mg or 20mg tadalafil would cost:
|Doses||Monthly||Per dose monthly||Quarterly||Per dose quarterly|
Hims also offers branded Cialis at the 5mg level intended for daily use. You can only get the 30-pill prescription, which costs $1,045/month or $2,965/quarter. Clearly, generic tadalafil is the more economical option. Still, as was the case with Viagra, if you’re committed to sticking to the pill that’s worked for you in the past or your insurance will only work with branded Cialis, you might consider this route.
Stendra — the branded form of avanafil — is a PDE-5 inhibitor that’s more akin to sildenafil than it is to Cialis. It’s designed to be taken shortly before sex and has a duration of action roughly the same as sildenafil’s (4-6 hours). Some studies point toward a decreased time to action in Stendra, kicking in closer to the 15-30-minute range than sildenafil’s 30-60-minute average, regardless of dosage.¹³
Stendra is also a more recently developed drug than sildenafil, and you could consider it a more refined product. For example, sildenafil and tadalafil collaterally act on other phosphodiesterase isoenzymes in addition to PDE-5, including PDEs 1, 6, and 11. Each of those is associated with a different bodily process, and their inhibition can lead to anything from back pain to disturbances in vision. Stendra more selectively targets PDE-5, resulting in fewer of these side effects.¹⁴
That makes Stendra seem like an easy choice over its competitors, and Hims is the only one of our top-rated ED medication providers to offer it. However, since avanafil isn’t available yet as a generic, it can’t compete in price with other Hims ED treatments like sildenafil and tadalafil. Here’s a quick breakdown of Stendra costs through Hims. Note that Hims only offers Stendra in a 100mg dose:
|Doses||Monthly||Per dose monthly||Quarterly||Per dose quarterly|
These costs are nowhere near as difficult to swallow as those associated with branded Viagra or Cialis, but they’re still a lot higher than the generic versions of those drugs.
One of Hims’ chief competitors is Bluechew, who made their name by offering generic ED medications in a convenient chewable form. Hims has recently developed their own line of chewable ED medications they call Hard Mints, but there are some important differences between the two companies’ offerings.
Let’s compare the two in a handy chart to see which medications each provider stocks:
|Tadalafil as needed|
|Tadalafil + Sildenafil|
As you can see, Hims doesn’t offer sildenafil on its own as a chewable mint, but they do offer daily tadalafil and a combination of sildenafil and tadalafil. There is some evidence that combining these drugs increases their efficacy, but there may also be a concurrent increase in side effects.
Hims Hard Mints come in a tin akin to some mints you’d buy for practical, breath-freshening use. This creates both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation. Having however many mints you like with you whenever you want is nice, as is the reduction in waste associated with individually wrapped options like the ones from BlueChew. Conversely, it’s easier to carry around one or two individually wrapped chewables than a whole tin.
And this casual approach to packaging might present a genuine danger if you leave your mints out around your home. It isn’t a stretch to imagine someone who isn’t fit to take a PDE-5 inhibitor thinking they’re just regular mints and popping one or two into their mouth. In a worst-case scenario, that could lead to a health emergency.
The doses each company offers are different, as well:
|Tadalafil as needed||6mg||6mg, 9mg|
|Tadalafil daily||12mg, 18mg||N/A|
|Tadalafil + Sildenafil||10mg sildenafil, 8mg or 12mg tadalafil||N/A|
At first glance, it looks like Hims consistently offers higher doses of the same medications, and while that’s true to an extent, you also have to realize that their prices are roughly double those of BlueChew, which evens out the offering quite a bit (though BlueChew still has the edge). The opportunity for a free trial with BlueChew makes them a more advisable place for most men to start, as does the fact that starting with lower doses is always wiser to ensure that you only take as much medication as you need. That can significantly reduce the risk of any side effects, and if you decide you want a higher dose, you can discuss taking more than one chewable at a time with your doctor.
Like most of Hims’ ED medications, their chewable mints don’t come with very clear pricing. The site advertises the lowest possible price per dose of each, but it doesn’t get into how dosages, quantities, or billing frequency affect these prices. We were able to squeeze some more detail out of a few representatives. Here’s a look at some of what we found, which we’ll compare to BlueChew equivalents where applicable for added context. Remember that doses are different between the two companies, so BlueChew equivalents will often include two of their chewables instead of one:
|Hims lowest cost per dose||BlueChew equivalent lowest cost per dose|
|Tadalafil as needed, 12mg||$7.50||$6.43|
|Tadalafil daily, 6mg||$3.60||$3.22|
|Sildenafil 10mg + tadalafil 8mg||$8.00||N/A|
|Vardenafil||$7.50 (12mg)||$4.00 (8mg)|
Other factors, like the specific dose that works best for you, will influence the medication you eventually employ, but these numbers all indicate that BlueChew is likely the best place to start for men interested in chewable ED medications.
Hims has a straightforward process for erectile dysfunction treatment that can take roughly 15-30 minutes to complete. It might take a bit longer if you don’t have a recent blood pressure reading to submit.
Insider Tip: Since you’ll need a blood pressure reading, and you likely won’t have the ability to measure it at home, you’ll need to have the measurement taken professionally. You can do this at your doctor’s office, but there are also reliable machines to check blood pressure for free at many national pharmacy chains like CVS.
Here’s how the process of acquiring a prescription and receiving ED medication works through Hims:
At the start of your visit, you’ll complete a simple questionnaire about your health, medical history, and lifestyle. Most of the questions are multiple-choice and easy enough to answer, but you will need a blood pressure reading from within the last six months before you can proceed.
For a quick video review of the Hims ED online doctor visit, watch here:
After completing the questionnaire, you’ll review five possible prescription options with associated pricing. Don’t worry if you have questions about the drugs at this point; you can change your medication and adjust its dosage after you chat with your Hims physician.
After indicating a treatment preference, you can request a specific dosage and quantity based on your level of sexual activity. Lastly, select a shipping frequency. Most plans offer monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly, or yearly options. We recommend either monthly or quarterly options to prevent unused medicine from expiring.
Next, you’ll upload a photo of your ID and a recent selfie. This is an identity verification step that Hims requires to conduct medical and pharmacy care safely online.
At this step in the process, a doctor reviews your case. In our testing, we received a response within a few minutes on their secure messaging system providing reading materials related to treatment options. Within about eight hours after that, we received a personalized message from a Hims doctor about our case. He recommended ED medication based on our questionnaire responses. At this stage, you can use Hims’ secure messaging system to ask your doctor any additional questions you may have. If your state requires it, this is also when you would have any necessary phone calls or video conferences.
Hims ships your medications directly to your door in discreet, secure packaging. If you happen to live outside the reach of a Hims pharmacy or pharmacy affiliate, a representative will help you set up delivery to a local pharmacy. Shipping is free from Hims, but your local pharmacy may charge a fee for home delivery.
These steps are similar to what you’d go through with any telehealth provider offering ED medications. Hims’ pharmacy network is large enough that shipments are reliably fast, though we’ve received meds from competitors like BlueChew in similar time frames.
Some insurance companies will cover generic ED medications but not brand-name pills; others do the opposite. You won’t submit your insurance information to Hims, though. Instead, you’ll have to pay the cost of any medications up-front and submit a claim for reimbursement with your insurance provider. This can be a little tricky, however, as Hims does not provide itemized receipts.
HSA and FSA card issuers almost universally deny all claims through Hims. We recommend prospective patients check out their insurance plans carefully to ensure that they cover out-of-network services like Hims.
These insurance hurdles are pretty standard for ED meds in the telehealth industry. This is one area where going through your doctor in person has its benefits, but only if you can verify with your insurer that ED medications would be covered (and covered enough that your copay would be less than the out-of-pocket cost of generics through Hims). Add any copay for your doctor’s visit, and Hims’ generic costs seem even more desirable.
That’s why most patients prefer to pay out-of-pocket for inexpensive generic treatments like sildenafil to avoid insurance headaches.
Hims takes data privacy very seriously. They comply with HIPAA regulations mandating they encrypt all of your medical data and will never share it. All data is 256-bit SSL/TLS encrypted in motion and at rest and fulfills SOC2 security requirements.
We’ve reviewed the alternatives to Hims for men seeking prescription help with their erectile dysfunction. Some boast slight advantages over Hims, but as of right now, Hims is the only major provider we like that offers Stendra as an alternative to Viagra. For men looking to minimize their risk of adverse reactions, this makes Hims an attractive choice. You also might find yourself sticking with Hims for ED service out of convenience if you already have an account there to receive things like skincare products or hair loss treatments. That said, it is worth looking at what other companies have to offer.
BlueChew is one of Hims’ top competitors in the sexual health space. Their selection is a bit different than the Hims ED options — they carry sildenafil and tadalafil, but no Stendra and no authorized generic Viagra. That said, BlueChew does offer vardenafil, which is a sildenafil alternative similar to Stendra and available for a much lower price. Perhaps the biggest difference is that BlueChew’s meds come in a convenient chewable form that many men find much easier to take than traditional pills.
Men who have never tried a PDE-5 inhibitor for ED may wonder whether any of these medications will work for them. BlueChew gives you one cost-saving advantage in this case by letting you try prescription sildenafil, tadalafil, or vardenafil for free. (Visit our full review to learn how.)
They also utilize a tiered pricing system of doses and quantities based on your level of sexual activity. That makes it especially easy to know what strength you want and how often you want it. They provide access for 48 of the 50 US states, and they deliver your meds right to your door.
BlueChew’s prices are almost identical to Hims for sildenafil but are generally lower than Hims when it comes to tadalafil. However, Hims has more dosage options, including higher doses for both medications. If sildenafil doses in the 40-50mg range are sufficient to treat your ED, the choice comes down to whether you want the convenience of a chewable tablet or a traditional pill.
On the tadalafil side, it’s smarter to go with BlueChew if you need 10mg or less and plan to take it as needed. But Hims is the better choice for higher doses or for daily tadalafil, as BlueChew’s tadalafil is only intended for as-needed use.
Like Hims, Roman has a nice variety of health services on their website, including products that help with weight loss, nicotine addiction, and allergies. Their prices are comparable to Hims, but like BlueChew, they don’t offer Stendra at this time. They do have an easy-to-digest price list, however, which is something that Hims could use.
A previous knock on Roman was that they charged $15 for an initial consultation. They have since reconsidered their position and now offer a free consultation in line with their competitors.
Ultimately, Roman only makes sense as an ED medication provider if you already use one or more of their other services and prefer to keep everything under one roof. The fact that their services include a few more things than Hims (like testosterone support and weight management) makes them a viable choice for such a multi-prong approach.
There are multiple ways to treat erectile dysfunction. Prescription medications like the ones Hims offers are generally the most effective and come with a litany of clinical research behind them. So, their likelihood of working and their potential for side effects are well known. But some men would prefer to avoid taking prescription-strength medicine. These men have a few additional options, including:
None of these alternatives can compete with prescription medications for reliability, and ingredients like sildenafil and tadalafil boast significantly more high-quality clinical research than many of the components you’ll find in supplements. Fortunately, so long as you clear it with your doctor, these approaches are not mutually exclusive. You can make positive lifestyle changes, add certain nutritional supplements, and utilize a penis pump, all while taking the prescriptions found through Hims.
There is some evidence that certain nutritional deficiencies can contribute to erectile dysfunction. There is also some clinical basis for the claim that certain vitamins, minerals, botanicals, or amino acids might improve ED symptoms by acting like PDE-5 inhibitors. A lot more research is needed before these claims hold enough water to deserve serious medical consideration. Still, many companies have seen fit to combine several of these ingredients into nutritional supplements commonly classed as male enhancement pills.
Potentially beneficial ingredients to look for in male enhancement supplements include:
Several studies show that L-arginine can widen blood vessels in a manner resembling PDE-5 inhibitors.¹⁵
Commonly known as horny goat weed, there are some studies that link it with increased testosterone levels and improved libido.¹⁶
More than anything else, ashwagandha’s anxiety-fighting capabilities might alleviate some of the stress that can contribute to ED.¹⁷
This mineral has been shown to increase serum testosterone levels, but it might only make a real difference in men with low testosterone.¹⁷
Other companies shift their focus away from the kind of effects prescription PDE-5 inhibitors offer, instead looking to low testosterone as a potential cause of erectile dysfunction. These companies rely on some of the same ingredients found in male enhancement pills, but they build their formulas around ingredients that might increase testosterone levels. These supplements, known as testosterone boosters, are likely to only help men whose testosterone levels are significantly in decline or already clinically low.
Some ingredients found in our top testosterone boosters include:
As we mentioned above, zinc has a good track record of improving testosterone levels in studies. Testosterone boosters often contain generous doses of it.
In addition to reducing stress, some studies indicate that ashwagandha may increase testosterone levels.
Men deficient in vitamin D often suffer from low testosterone, leading some researchers to believe that supplementation with D3 can improve testosterone levels.¹⁹
The jury is still out on this ingredient’s true efficacy, with several studies openly contradicting one another. If the promising studies prove to be right as more research comes out, this ingredient should indirectly increase testosterone.²⁰
We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time researching and reviewing these supplements, and we’ve weeded out many sketchy players and fly-by-night companies to find a few brands we think can potentially deliver genuine results for some men.
These will really only work in mild cases of ED; if your ED is moderate-to-severe, you will likely need prescription help. It’s also worth noting that the average male enhancement pill or testosterone booster is markedly more expensive than generic prescription options. Also, you have to take these supplements daily, as opposed to consuming them as needed.
Penis pumps are understandably regarded with a bit of derision by many men. The pump industry has lost some credibility by profiting from a misconception that pumps can increase your penis size; several top manufacturers perpetuate this false claim. The reality of what a penis pump is designed to do is much different.
When you use a pump, the vacuum pressure it creates causes blood to collect in your penis. Depending on the cause of your ED, this can be enough to generate an erection of sufficient strength and duration for penetrative sex.²¹
The big benefit of using a penis pump for ED is that you don’t have to put any chemical substances into your body, prescription or otherwise. You also need to make just one investment in the pump itself and not worry about refilling prescriptions or reordering supplements. Its cost, however, is the first of a few sticking points.
Pumps can cost anywhere from $50-$500, and looking in the bargain bin for something designed to intimately interact with your penis isn’t the best idea. Our favorite pumps come from Bathmate, with their Hydromax7 and HydroXtreme11 costing $159 and $399, respectively. That’s a much bigger investment than the average generic ED pill. (You can learn more at our full guide to the best penis pumps.)
Penis pumps can also be cumbersome to use, with air pumps creating discomfort and water-based pumps requiring a bath or shower to use without making a mess. And if you’re new to the process, the time it’ll take you to set up the pump, get in the shower, pump successfully, and towel off isn’t much less than the time it would take the average ED medication to kick in.
We don’t discourage men from trying a pump if that seems like a viable path for them. There are certainly enough options out there that most men could find a suitable match. But given the convenience and efficacy of prescription ED medications, it’s hard to see why someone would reach for the pump instead.
Erectile dysfunction can arise from one of many potential causes or a combination of factors ranging from cardiovascular disease to mental health issues. Given the variety of possible contributing factors, it’s no surprise that there are multiple lifestyle adjustments you can make to help combat ED. Here are a few things that can’t hurt to try:
Whether it’s eating better or just eating less, dietary adjustments — especially ones that can help you lose weight and lower blood sugar — can help reduce the symptoms of ED.
If you’re suffering from ED that’s not caused by obesity or cardiovascular disease, exercise can still stave off those causes while releasing endorphins to help you manage stress and mental health problems.
Many men suffering from ED experience a strong psychological component.²² Whether it’s the anxiety brought on by the ED itself or some other issue from your past, therapy can help you work through those issues and create strategies to manage their influence on your sex life.
Some medications can cause ED, and if you’re taking them electively — like finasteride for hair loss — you might want to consider alternatives.²³ In finasteride’s case, things like minoxidil and laser treatments may prove just as effective without the sexual side effects.
Regardless of your ED status, these are mostly all positive adjustments any man can make to improve their life and health. None of them should interfere with your ability to also use prescription interventions to help with your ED. Over time, you may find that these changes allow you to achieve an erection without medical help, but you can utilize prescriptions from Hims in the meantime.
Gerbild, H., Larsen, C. M., Graugaard, C., & Josefsson, K. A. (2018). Physical Activity to Improve Erectile Function: A Systematic Review of Intervention Studies. Sexual Medicine, 6(2), 75-89.
Katz, E. G., Tan, R. B., Rittenberg, D., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2013). Avanafil for erectile dysfunction in elderly and younger adults: differential pharmacology and clinical utility. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 10, 701-711.
Ausó, E., Gómez-Vicente, V., & Esquiva, G. (2021). Visual Side Effects Linked to Sildenafil Consumption: An Update. Biomedicines, 9(3).
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Fink H.A., Mac Donald R., Rutks I.R., Nelson D.B., Wilt T.J. (2002, June 24). Sildenafil for Male Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(12):1349–1360.
Carson C. C., 3rd (2005). Cardiac safety in clinical trials of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors. The American Journal of Cardiology, 96(12B), 37M–41M.
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Huang, S. A., & Lie, J. D. (2013). Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) Inhibitors In the Management of Erectile Dysfunction. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 38(7), 407.
Hatzimouratidis, K. (2006). Sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: an overview of the clinical evidence. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 1(4), 403-414.
Rosen, R. C., Padma-Nathan, H., Shabsigh, R., Saikali, K., Watkins, V., & Pullman, W. (2004). Determining the earliest time within 30 minutes to erectogenic effect after tadalafil 10 and 20 mg: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, at-home study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 1(2), 193–200.
Porst, H., Padma-Nathan, H., Giuliano, F., Anglin, G., Varanese, L., & Rosen, R. (2003). Efficacy of tadalafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction at 24 and 36 hours after dosing: a randomized controlled trial. Urology, 62(1), 121–126.
Brock, G., Ni, X., Oelke, M., Mulhall, J., Rosenberg, M., Seftel, A., & Barry, J. (2016). Efficacy of Continuous Dosing of Tadalafil Once Daily vs Tadalafil On Demand in Clinical Subgroups of Men With Erectile Dysfunction: A Descriptive Comparison Using the Integrated Tadalafil Databases. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 13(5), 860.
Burke, R. M., & Evans, J. D. (2011). Avanafil for treatment of erectile dysfunction: review of its potential. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 8, 517-523.
Kumar, M., Pathade, A.D., Gupta, S.V., Goyal, S., Rath, D., Thakre, M., Sanmukhani, J. and Mittal, R. (2022), Efficacy and safety of avanafil as compared with sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A randomized, double blind, multicenter clinical trial. Int. J. Urol., 29: 351-359.
Rhim, H. C., Kim, M. S., Park, Y. J., Choi, W. S., Park, H. K., Kim, H. G., Kim, A., & Paick, S. H. (2019). The Potential Role of Arginine Supplements on Erectile Dysfunction: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 16(2), 223–234.
Liu, W. J., Xin, Z. C., Xin, H., Yuan, Y. M., Tian, L., & Guo, Y. L. (2005). Effects of icariin on erectile function and expression of nitric oxide synthase isoforms in castrated rats. Asian Journal of Andrology, 7(4), 381–388.
Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255-262.
Prasad, A. S., Mantzoros, C. S., Beck, F. W., Hess, J. W., & Brewer, G. J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 12(5), 344–348.
Pilz, S., Frisch, S., Koertke, H., Kuhn, J., Dreier, J., Obermayer-Pietsch, B., Wehr, E., Zittermann, A. (2010, December). Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 43(3): 223-5.
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Atallah, S., Haydar, A., Jabbour, T., Kfoury, P., & Sader, G. (2021) The effectiveness of psychological interventions alone, or in combination with phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction: A systematic review. Arab Journal of Urology, 19:3, 310-322.
Mysore, V. (2012). Finasteride and sexual side effects. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 3(1), 62-65.
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