Saw palmetto: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• Substantial scientific evidence has shown that saw palmetto is an effective treatment for stages 1 and 2 of BPH in cases where the diagnosis of cancer is negative. It is as effective as finasteride and alpha-adrenoreceptor antagonist drugs such as tamsulosin and alfuzosin, although prazosin may be slightly more effective.

• Typically, symptom reduction is experienced within 1-2 months’ treatment, which is well tolerated, and associated with fewer side effects than finasteride and tamsulosin.

• The herb does not affect PSA levels therefore PSA test results will be unaffected.

• If symptoms worsen, blood is detected in the urine or acute urinary retention occurs, seek professional advice.

Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions

What will this herb do for me?

Saw palmetto has been investigated in numerous scientific studies and shown to reduce symptoms of enlarged prostate with few side-effects. There is also some early research suggesting it may be useful in some forms of hair loss and prostatitis.

When will it start to work?

Symptom relief for enlarged prostate is generally experienced within 4-8 weeks.

Are there any safety issues?

Saw palmetto is well tolerated; however, occasionally mild gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches and rhinitis have been reported.