Extracts of the plant Serenoa repens are widely used in male adults for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Recently, therapy with S repens has been proposed as a "natural" alternative to conventional treatments for male androgenetic alopecia as well as for other hair disorders. Telogen effluvium is a form of alopecia characterized by abnormality of hair cycling, resulting in excessive loss of telogen hair. We report the case of an 11-year-old girl presenting hot flashes that appeared after treatment of telogen effluvium with a food supplement containing S repens that lasted for ∼2 months. When use of the product was discontinued, the hot flashes no longer occurred. Four months after the start of S repens intake and 45 days from the cessation of therapy, the girl experienced menarche at the age of 11 years. The Naranjo adverse drug reaction probability scale indicated a probable relationship (score of 6) between the appearance of hot flashes and the intake of S repens. A correlation between exposure to S repens and the onset of menarche is not certain, but it cannot be excluded. Medicinal products or food supplements containing S repens are generally well tolerated in male adults, but we believe that their use in pediatric patients should be better evaluated.
- BPH —
- benign prostatic hyperplasia
- GnRH —
- gonadotropin-releasing hormone
- Accepted May 15, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics