Question- The article cited below notes “Extracts of the saw palmetto berry are used by many men in the United States as self-treatment for lower urinary tract symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia. While the most recent data from double-blind clinical trials do not support efficacy superior to that of placebo, there are sparse data on saw palmetto toxicity.” What is the toxicity associated with saw palmetto extract?
Answer- The cited reference reported on 369 patients in the CAMUS trial (Complementary and Alternative medicine for Urological Symptoms) who were randomized to take a variety of ethanolic saw palmetto extracts or placebo. These investigators concluded “The saw palmetto extract used in the CAMUS trial showed no evidence of toxicity at doses up to 3 times the usual clinical dose during an 18-month period.” (Avins AL et al. safety and toxicity of saw palmetto in the CAMUS trial. 2013 J Urol 189:1415-1420)