Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saw Palmetto VS. Flomax

This post may be helpful for men with urination difficulties related to an enlarged prostate.

A 320mg/day dose of Saw Palmetto finished in a dead heat against a 0.4mg/day dose of the popular alpha-1-blocker Flomax for symptomatic treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

That was the result of this study:
A Prospective Study Of The Efficacy Of Serenoa Repens, Tamsulosin, And Serenoa Repens Plus Tamsulosin Treatment For Patients With Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, International Urology and Nephrology, 2007

Serenoa repens is the herb known as Saw Palmetto (Wikipedia: Saw Palmetto). Tamsulosin is the pharmaceutical drug Flomax (Wikipedia: Flomax).

"The groups were not statistically different with regard to increase in maximal urinary flow rate, and decrease in International Prostate Symptom Score. No adverse effect was detected in [Saw Palmetto] group."
The study also had a combined group whose participants took both Saw Palmetto and Flomax. That group was also not statistically different from the other groups, that is, there was no additional benefit to taking both:
"Combined therapy [Saw Palmetto + Flomax] does not provide extra benefits."
This study was not conducted in the US. The US is a pharmaceutical drug-centric country. As long as there is little money to be made in herbals, it will remain that way.

Retail price for 30-day supply:
  • $7.05 for 30-day supply of Saw Palmetto Extract (320 mg, 100 softgels, $23.49, Vitamin Shoppe brand)
  • $102.47 for 30-day supply of Flomax (0.4 mg, 90 capsules, $307.40, Drugstore.com)

Update: See what the National Institutes of Health have to say about saw palmetto.

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