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Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2012;5:419-24. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S34241. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

Increased variability and abnormalities in pancreatic enzyme concentrations in otherwise asymptomatic subjects with type 2 diabetes.

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Amylin Pharmaceuticals LLC, San Diego, CA, USA.



Recent studies have demonstrated an increased incidence of pancreatitis in patients with type 2 diabetes compared with obese nondiabetic individuals. Serum lipase and pancreatic amylase concentrations are used in conjunction with clinical findings to diagnose pancreatitis.


In two large clinical trials of overweight/obese nondiabetic and type 2 diabetic subjects, lipase and pancreatic amylase were measured at screening and 2-5 weeks later at baseline (prior to treatment with study medication).


Lipase and pancreatic amylase concentrations were above the upper limit of normal (ULN) in 13% and 6% of type 2 diabetic subjects, respectively, and were approximately three-fold (3 ×) higher than the proportion of nondiabetic subjects with levels above ULN. Elevations exceeding ULN were seen in many subjects asymptomatic for pancreatitis; however, elevations >2 × ULN and >3 × ULN were uncommon, and elevations >3 × ULN were often associated with a history of dyslipidemia, hyperlipidemia, and gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, enzyme concentrations varied within this 2-5-week screening period, including shifts between elevated and normal levels.


Results from this post hoc analysis suggest that, although pancreatic enzymes can be a useful marker for pancreatitis within the proper clinical context, diagnosis of pancreatitis may be confounded in populations known to have asymptomatic elevations associated with disease, such as type 2 diabetes. Further effort is needed to clarify the etiology and epidemiology of pancreatic enzyme elevations in type 2 diabetes.


amylase; diabetes; lipase; pancreatitis

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