Saw palmetto ineffective in BPH

THE complementary therapy, saw palmetto, is no more effective than placebo in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), according to a US study.

Urinary symptoms of men randomised to take the fruit extract were no better after 72 weeks compared with those taking placebo, even at the highest dose of 960 mg daily.

A total of 369 mainly Caucasian men, with an average age of 61 years, were involved in the multicentre study. Participants had a mean peak urinary flow rate of 14.9 mL/s and scored a mean 14.6 points on the American Urological Association Symptom Index.

Men were randomised to receive one, two or three doses daily of 320 mg saw palmetto extract, or placebo, with dose increases at 24 and 48 weeks.

At follow-up, overall symptom scores had reduced for both the men taking the saw palmetto and those taking the placebo, but by slightly more (0.79 points) in those taking the placebo. 

Saw palmetto was no more effective