Question: Saw palmetto extracts are widely used as self-treatment for a variety of symptoms due to benign prostatic hyperplasia in men. What are the adverse effects associated with the use of saw palmetto?
Answer: The cited reference reports a randomized trial of 369 men taking various doses of saw palmetto extract over 18 months. The authors report “There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in the rates of serious or non-serious adverse events, changes in vital signs, digital prostate examination findings or study withdrawal rates. Overall, there were no significant intergroup differences in laboratory test abnormalities, while differences in individual laboratory tests were rare and small in magnitude. No evidence of significant dose-response phenomena was identified. (Avins AL et al. Safety and toxicity of saw palmetto in the CAMUS trial. 2013 J Urol 189:1415-1420)