Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: Cancer | saw | palmetto | prostate

Should I Take Saw Palmetto for My Prostate?

By    |   Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:11 AM

Question: 20 years ago, my urologist recommended that I take saw palmetto (my father has prostate cancer). But my new doctor says it doesn’t do anything to help the prostate. What do you think? 
Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
What your urologist told you 20 years ago may have had some scientific backing then, and some still find this agent helps them, despite little evidence to support its recommendation for all. Your new doctor is correct to inform you that the evidence is slim to absent, and most of us would prefer to not waste our money on therapies with little, if any, benefit.
That being said, if you have had improvement using this agent, who can argue with success?

Our bodies are all different, and some alternative therapies are more effective for some people than others. But keep in mind that prescription agents are required by the Food and Drug Administration to meet certain quality and effective standards in order to be approved. But no saw palmetto agents are approved for therapeutic use by the FDA, and many doctors well advise their patients to steer clear of ineffective or partially effective agents when better choices are available.
Complementary therapies can unfortunately sometimes cause drug interactions and negative side effects. So you should always talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter remedies, diet supplements, or vitamins. Such agents are also treatments and may have serious and sometimes critical interactions with prescription medications.

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Saw Palmetto may, in fact, help some men maintain a healthy prostate, but the scientific evidence is slim.
Thursday, 01 August 2013 11:11 AM
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