Pancreatic enzyme products
Pancreatic enzyme products

Background

Pancreatic enzyme products contain pancreatin or pancrelipase, which is a mixture of amylase, lipase, and protease. These enzymes are made by the pancreas.

Amylase, lipase, and protease are normally made by the pancreas to help the body digest food. In the US, pancreatic enzyme products are available as a prescription or in dietary supplements. The enzymes in these products usually come from the pancreas in pigs.

People use prescription pancreatic enzyme products to treat digestion problems that occur when the pancreas has been removed or is not working well. Prescription products are FDA-approved for pancreatic insufficiency. People use supplement products to help with digestion and for other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Prescription pancreatic enzyme products are not the same as supplement pancreatic enzyme products. Prescription products contain a standardized amount of enzymes, while the contents of supplement products vary.
When taken by mouth: Prescription pancreatic enzyme products are likely safe when used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Side effects might include stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting. Taking prescription pancreatic enzyme products in amounts greater than prescribed is possibly unsafe. Higher doses might increase the risk of having a rare bowel disorder.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if pancreatic enzyme SUPPLEMENTS are safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if pancreatic enzyme products are safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use unless prescribed to you by a healthcare professional.

Children: Prescription pancreatic enzyme products are likely safe when taken by mouth under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Be sure to follow the prescribed dosing instructions. Taking prescription pancreatic enzyme products in amounts greater than prescribed is possibly unsafe. There isn't enough reliable information to know if pancreatic enzyme SUPPLEMENTS are safe.

Diabetes: Pancreatic enzyme products might make it harder for some people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use pancreatic enzyme products.

Effectiveness

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
  • Digestion problems due to a disorder of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency). Taking prescription pancreatic enzyme products by mouth improves the absorption of fat, protein, and energy in people with who are unable to digest food properly due to cystic fibrosis, pancreas removal, or pancreas swelling (pancreatitis). It's not clear if non-prescription pancreatic products help.
There is interest in using pancreatic enzyme products for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions

Dosing & administration

In the US, pancreatic enzyme products are available as prescription products (Creon, Zenpep, Pancreaze, Ultresa, Viokace, and Pertzye) and as dietary supplements. Prescription products should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Supplement products should not be used in place of prescription products because the amount of active ingredient in these products can vary from one batch to the next. Speak with your healthcare provider before use.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Acarbose (Precose, Prandase)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Pancreatic enzyme products might break down acarbose, removing it from the body. This might reduce the effects of acarbose.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Folic acid: Pancreatic enzyme products might decrease the amount of folic acid the body absorbs from supplements.

Interactions with foods

Acidic foods or fruit juices can break down the chemicals in pancreatic enzyme products that are responsible for its benefits. Be sure to choose pancreatic enzyme products that are "enteric-coated." This coating will protect the enzymes against acid.

Keep in mind that mixing enteric-coated pancreatic enzyme products into alkaline foods (for example, chicken, veal, or green beans) might destroy the coating.
D.E.F.
Practitioner product
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This monograph was last reviewed on 27/01/2023 20:07:48 and last updated on 02/12/2014 17:59:56. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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