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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2001 Apr;3(2):101-8.

Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy.

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Department of Medicine, Israelitic Hospital, Orchideenstieg 14, D-22297 Hamburg, Germany.


Malabsorption due to severe pancreatic exocrine insufficiency is one of the most important late features of chronic pancreatitis. Generally, steatorrhea is more severe and occurs several years prior to malabsorption of other nutrients because synthesis and secretion of lipase are impaired more rapidly, its intraluminal survival is shorter, and the lack of pancreatic lipase activity is not compensated for by nonpancreatic mechanisms. Patients suffer not only from nutritional deficiencies but also from increased nutrient delivery to distal intestinal sites, causing symptoms by profound alteration of upper gastrointestinal secretory and motor functions. Adequate nutrient absorption requires delivery of sufficient enzymatic activity into the duodenal lumen simultaneously with meal nutrients. The following recommendations are based on modern therapeutic concepts: 25,000 to 40,000 units of lipase per meal using pH-sensitive pancreatin microspheres, with dosage increases, compliance checks, and differential diagnosis in case of treatment failure. Still, in most patients, lipid digestion cannot be completely normalized by current standard therapy, and future developments are needed to optimize treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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