Introduction: Serenoa repens (saw palmetto) has been employed for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) for several years. Its mechanism of action is believed to be due to antiandrogenic, antiproliferative and antinflammatory properties. An association of Serenoa with the nettle "Urtica dioica" showing antiproliferative activity and the pine "Pinus pinaster" derivative, showing antinflammatory action, has been proposed in recent years. Such an action is hoped to act not only by reducing LUTS but also by preventing the development of prostate cancer.
Material and methods: During the years 2007 and 2008, 320 patients suffering from LUTS were treated with an association of Serenoa repens 320 mg, Urtica dioica 120 mg and Pinus pinaster 5 mg, named IPBTRE. This treatment was administered to all patients for a minimal duration of 30 days to a maximum of a year, either alone or in association with antibiotics or alpha-blockers, if needed. Outcome analysis was based on evaluation of symptoms, prostate volume and maximum flow rate (Qmax).
Results: From a careful analysis of the data collected in our database, the following observations can be made: ages varied between 19 and 78 years. The patients were affected by BPH in 46% of cases, chronic prostatitis syndrome in 43%, chronic genital-pelvic pain in 7% and other conditions in 4%, the absolute numbers being 147, 138, 22 and 7 patients, respectively. No untoward side effect was reported in any case. Variations in symptom score could be fully evaluated only in 80 of 320 patients (25%), of whom 68 (85%) reported a significant benefit, with special reference to an improvement of pain, urgency, strangury and nocturia. Data on variations in prostate volume, as measured by digital rectal examination, were available in 84 (26.5%) patients. No significant change was observed. Qmax after treatment was measured in 83 (26%) patients. It did not show significant changes from the initial values.
Discussion: The association tested in our study appeared to be safe and well tolerated. No changes in flow rate and prostate volume were observed, but a marked reduction of LUTS was observed in 85% of evaluable cases, especially with regard to pain and irritative symptoms. Whether or not such an association may display a prevention of prostate cancer, may be investigated in additional studies.