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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2007 Apr;9(2):116-22.

Pancreatic enzyme therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital of Santiago de Compostela, C/ Choupana, s/n, E-15706-Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency with steatorrhea is a major consequence of pancreatic diseases (eg, chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer), extrapancreatic diseases such as celiac disease and Crohn's disease, and gastrointestinal and pancreatic surgical resection. Recognition of this entity is highly relevant to avoid malnutrition-related morbidity and mortality. Therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is based on the oral administration of pancreatic enzymes aiming at providing the duodenal lumen with sufficient active lipase at the time of gastric emptying of nutrients. Administration of enzymes in the form of enteric-coated minimicrospheres avoids acid-mediated lipase inactivation and ensures gastric emptying of enzymes in parallel with nutrients. Nevertheless, such factors as acidic intestinal pH and bacterial overgrowth may prevent normalization of fat digestion even in compliant patients. The present article critically reviews current therapeutic approaches to pancreatic exocrine insufficiency.

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