In elderly men, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a major risk factor for sexual dysfunctions (SDys). Additionally, the standard treatments for BPH symptoms, alpha blockers and 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors, cause SDys themselves. Preparations from saw palmetto berries are an efficacious and well-tolerated symptomatic treatment for mild to moderate BPH and have traditionally been used to treat SDys. We conducted an open multicentric clinical pilot trial to investigate whether the saw palmetto berry preparation Prostasan® influenced BPH symptoms and SDys. Eighty-two patients participated in the 8-week trial, taking one capsule of 320 mg saw palmetto extract daily. At the end of the treatment, the International Prostate Symptom Score was reduced from 14.4 ± 4.7 to 6.9 ± 5.2 (p < 0.0001), SDys measured with the brief Sexual Function Inventory improved from 22.4 ± 7.2 to 31.4 ± 9.2 (p < 0.0001), and the Urolife BPH QoL-9 total improved from 162.7 ± 47.9 to 105.0 ± 56.3 (p < 0.0001). Investigators' and patients' assessments confirmed the good efficacy, and treatment was very well tolerated and accepted by the patients. Correlation analyses confirmed the relationship between improved BPH symptoms and reduced SDys. This was the first trial with saw palmetto to show improvement in BPH symptoms and SDys as well.
Suter A, Saller R, Riedi E, Heinrich M. Improving BPH symptoms and sexual dysfunctions with a saw palmetto preparation? Results from a pilot trial. Phytother Res. 2012 April Medical Department, A. Vogel Bioforce AG, Roggwil, Switzerland; School of Pharmacy, University of London, University College London, London, United Kingdom.