Objectives: To determine, by analysing all available clinical trial data, the clinical efficacy against placebo of an extract from the fruit of the American dwarf palm tree, Serenoa repens (Permixon, Pierre Fabre Médicament, Castres, France), as there is controversy about the use of phytotherapeutic agents in men with lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Methods: All clinical trial data published on Permixon, comprising 14 randomized clinical trials and three open-label trials, involving 4280 patients, were analysed. These trials were of different size (22-1100 patients) and duration (21-720 days). The peak urinary flow rate and nocturia were the two common endpoints. The statistical analysis was based on a random-effects meta-analysis.
Results: Permixon was associated with a mean (sem) reduction in the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) of 4.78 (0.41). The mean placebo effect on peak urinary flow rate was an increase of 1.20 (0.49) mL/s. The estimated effect of Permixon was a further increase of 1.02 (0.50) mL/s (P = 0.042). Placebo was associated with a reduction in the mean number of nocturnal voids of 0.63 (0.14); there was a further reduction attributable to Permixon of 0.38 (0.07) (P < 0.001). There was some heterogeneity among the studies for nocturia; one over 2 years involving 396 patients and showing no difference between placebo and Permixon had a large effect on the results.
Conclusions: This meta-analysis of all available published trials of Permixon for treating men with BPH showed a significant improvement in peak flow rate and reduction in nocturia above placebo, and a 5-point reduction in the IPSS.