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Adv Exp Med Biol


Rational Use of Pancreatic Enzymes for Pancreatic Insufficiency and Pancreatic Pain.


Ketwaroo GA, Graham DY
Adv Exp Med Biol. 2019; 1148:323-343.
PMID: 31482505.


We describe the rational use of enteric coated and unprotected replacement pancreatic enzymes for treatment of malabsorption due to pancreatic insufficiency and for pancreatic pain. Enteric coated formulations mix poorly with food allowing separation of enzymes and nutrients when emptying from the stomach. The site of dissolution of the enteric coating in the intestine is also unpredictable and enzymes may not be released until the distal intestine. Together, these barriers result in the lack of dose-response such that the strategy of increasing the dosage following a suboptimal effect is often ineffective. The ability to maintain the intragastric pH ≥4 with the combination of proton pump inhibitors and antacids suggests that it should be possible to reliably obtain a good response with uncoated enzymes. We also discuss the recognition, treatment and prevention of nutritional deficiencies associated with pancreatic insufficiency and recommend a test and treat strategy to identify and resolve nutritional deficits. Finally, we focus on mechanisms causing pain that may be amenable to therapy with pancreatic enzymes. Pain due to malabsorbed digestive contents can be prevented by successful therapy of malabsorption. Feedback inhibition of endogenous pancreatic secretion can prevent pain associated with pancreatic secretion but requires use of non-enteric coated formulations.