Pancrelipase (Oral)

Overview

Pancrelipase is a medicine given to patients who's pancreas isn't working properly and so can't digest food as normal. Such patients would usually be suffering from conditions such as pancreatitis or cystic fibrosis. Pancrelipase works by providing your body with enzymes that are needed to help properly digest fats, starches, and proteins. These enzymes include amylases, proteases, and lipases. You can only obtain Pancrelipase if you have a doctor's prescription. It has the ability to interact with a variety of other drugs and can cause a number of side effects, It is therefore only suitable and safe for certain patients.

Condition(s) treated

  • Inability to digest food due to poorly performing pancreas

Type of medicine

  • Tablet

Side Effects

As well as having its intended effect, it is possible that this drug will cause the patient to experience other side effects as well. These side effects can range in their severity and their need for attention. You may experience some of the effects listed below, or you may experience none at all. However, if you experience any of the severe side effects listed directly below, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Rare

  • Hives or skin rash

With high doses

  • Diarrhea

When taking very high doses

  • Joint pain
  • Blood in your urine
  • Swelling of your lower legs or feet

With powder that comes from opened capsules, or when using powder dosage form

  • Trouble breathing

With tablets

  • Irritation of the mouth

Incidence not known

  • Itching

As well as these more serious side effects, it is possible you could experience less severe ones as well. These less severe ones do not necessarily require medical assistance, and may, in fact, pass over time as your body adjusts to the medicines. However, if you do experience any of the side effects listed below and find them worrying or lingering, you can still contact your doctor. They may be able to advise on ways to reduce them, such as by altering your doses.

More common

  • Fruit-like breath odor

Less common

  • Frequent bowel movements

Incidence not known

  • Muscle spasm

It is possible that Pancrelipase could cause other side effects not listed here. If this is the case, then you can discuss these with your doctor. Again, they may be able to advise upon ways to reduce the unwanted effects.

Dosage

Below you can find the typical doses of Pancrelipase that are prescribed to patients to help digestion. Do be aware that the exact doses you have been prescribed may differ greatly to those below. This is because the needs of each patient are different, and your exact doses are based on these needs. It also takes into account other factors, such as other drugs you are currently taking. You should only ever alter the doses you take if you have been told to do so by your doctor.

For those taking capsules:

  • Older adults, adults, and teenagers. Take 1 to 3 capsules either with or before meals and snacks. Your dose may then be adjusted as necessary by your doctor.

For those taking delayed-release capsules:

  • Older adults, adults, and children aged above 4. The exact dose is based on your body weight and will need to be calculated by a doctor. The initial dose is usually 500 units of lipase for every kg of body weight, taken each meal. This can be changed, however, it will usually not exceed a per kg of bodyweight amount of 2500 units of lipase, taken each meal (or equal to or less than 10,000 units of lipase for every kg of body weight, taken each day). Or it will not be lower than 4000 units of lipase for every gram of fat that is ingested each day.

Pertzye®: Take 4000 units of lipase (or 1 capsule) per 120 ml of infant formula or during each breastfeeding.

Creon®: Take 3000 units of lipase per 120 ml of infant formula or during each breastfeeding.

Pancreaze®: Take 2600 units of lipase per 120 ml of infant formula or during each breastfeeding.

Zenpep®: Take 3000 units of lipase per 120 ml of infant formula or during each breastfeeding.

Ultresaâ„¢: The exact use and dosage will need to be calculated by a doctor.

For those taking powder:

  • Older adults, adults, and teenagers. Take 0.7grams (1/4 teaspoonful) with each meal and snack. Your doctor may then adjust your doses as necessary.

For those taking Viokaceâ„¢ tablets:

  • Older adults, adults, and teenagers. The exact dose is based on your body weight and will need to be calculated by a doctor. The initial dose is usually 500 units of lipase for every kg of body weight, taken each meal. This can be changed, however, it will usually not exceed a per kg of bodyweight amount of 2500 units of lipase, taken each meal (or equal to or less than 10,000 units of lipase for every kg of body weight, taken each day). Or it will not be less than 4000 units of lipase for every gram of fat that is ingested each day. Take 1 to 3 capsules either with or before meals and snacks. Your dose may then be adjusted as necessary by your doctor.

You should try and never miss a scheduled dose as doing so will limit the effectiveness of this treatment. If you do miss a dose, you should simply skip it and carry on dosing as per your schedule. You should never double dose.

You should take this medicine in the exact same manner as your doctor prescribed it to you. This means never taking more of it, or having it any more frequently. DOing so will increase your chances of experiencing certain side effects.

Upon receiving this medicine you will find a medication guide. You should read this carefully and address any questions you have to your doctor.

You should take Pancrelipase with your meals and snacks, accompanied by enough liquid to swallow it whole. Your doctor will advise you if you should take it differently.

Alongside this medicine, your doctor may also prescribe you will a personal diet plan. You should follow this carefully as it will help the medicine work properly. Similarly, you should drink plenty of water at all times.

Here is some further advice for those taking tablets:

  • The tablet branded as Viokaceâ„¢ is used alongside certain medicines for a stomach ulcer that is commonly known as proton pump inhibitors (such as Prevacid®, Prilosec®, esomeprazole, omeprazole, Nexium®, or lansoprazole).

Here is some further advice for those taking delayed-release capsules:

  • You should swallow the capsules whole.

You should not change the brand or dosage form of Pancrelipase that you use unless you first check with your doctor. The different brands may work in a different way. You should check with your pharmacist if you ever refill your medicine and think it looks different.

Interactions

It is possible that Pancrelipase will interact with other drugs you are currently taking. That is why your doctor may require you to inform them of prescription and nonprescription drugs you use. Below is a list of some of the drugs which are known to interact moderately with Pancrelipase. Your doctor may wish to change one of the two interacting drugs in order to avoid unwanted interactions. Alternatively, they may alter the doses you receive.

  • Multivitamin, prenatal

As well as interacting with drugs, it is possible that Pancrelipase will interact with certain aspects of your diet. This includes what you eat, smoke, or drink. Your doctor may require you to make certain dietary adjustments in order to avoid such interactions. This could include things like drinking less alcohol or smoking less tobacco.

Finally, it is possible that Pancrelipase will interact with other medical conditions you currently have. You should inform your doctor of your complete medical history, and point out any of the following.

  • Hyperuricosuria (high uric acid in your urine)

Warnings

Before prescribing you with this medicine, your doctor will first need to decide whether it is indeed safe and suitable for you to take. As a part of this process, they will need to be made aware of any allergies you have. This includes allergies to preservatives, foods, animals, or dyes.

The suitable studies that have taken place on children have not shown any signs that this medicine is less useful for children. This includes Pertzye®, Zenpep®, Creon®, and Pancreaze®.

However, no appropriate studies have yet taken place on Ultresaâ„¢ and children who are younger than 12. The same applies to Viokaceâ„¢ in any children. No efficacy and safety have yet been established for these age groups.

As of writing, there is no information available about the relationship between Pertzye®, Creon®, and Pancreaze® and older patients.

However, with regards to Viokaceâ„¢, Zenpep®, and Ultresaâ„¢, the studies taken place have not indicated any signs that they would be less suitable for older patients. Just be aware that elderly patients are more likely to suffer from age-related, heart, kidney, or liver problems. These conditions may require greater levels of caution and adjustments to be made to the doses prescribed.

As of writing, it is unclear as to whether suitable studies have taken place on pregnant women using this medicine. Your doctor is best placed to advise you on any increased risks this medicine poses to you or your child.

Similarly, there are no suitable studies to determine any increased risks to breastfeeding women. You should instead discuss whether it is safe to breastfeed at the same time a staking Pancrelipase.

Your doctor will want to meet you during regular appointments whilst you receive Pancrelipase. This is so they can assess your treatment and check for any unwanted effects.

If you are taking the capsules of Pancrelipase that contain powder, you should be careful not to breathe in any of the powder if they are every broken to mix with food. Doing so could cause unwanted and harmful effects such as troubled breathing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, or a stuffy nose. The same applies to patients taking the powder form of Pancrelipase.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor. They could be signs of a serious bowel disorder known as fibrosing colonopathy.

  • Nausea

Be aware that, though this medicine is made from the pancreas of a pig, the risk of getting viruses from pig organs has reduced greatly in recent years. This is because all organs must be tested for certain viruses, and also during the manufacturing of the medicines themselves. However, if you are still worried about the minimal risk of viruses, you should discuss this with your doctor.

It is possible that Pancrelipase will cause serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis. This reaction requires immediate medical attention as it can be life-threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms at any time whilst taking this medicine, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Hives

Before taking Zenpep®, you should first advise your doctor if you have ever had any abnormal blood glucose levels.

Storage

You should store your medicine in a sealed container and keep it at room temperature.Also, keep it safely away from children, and away from direct light, moisture, and heat. Never allow it to freeze. If your medicine goes out of date at any point, then dispose of it safely and sensibly. The same applies to any medicine you have left after your treatment. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise on how to properly dispose of medicine.

You can keep Creon® capsules at room temperature for a maximum of 30 days. After this period, throw away any unused medicine.

You should keep your delayed-release capsules in a container that is tightly sealed in order to avoid them coming into contact with moisture.

Summary

If you are suffering from a pancreas that is unable to properly digest food, then Pancrelipase is a drug that may be prescribed to help you more easily digest food. However, be aware that it is not prescribed to all such patients as it is not suitable for all.There are also various drug forms of this medicine, and your doctor will pick a suitable one based on your circumstances. You should only ever take the exact drug prescribed to you and never switch to a different brand unless first checking with your doctor.

You should also follow any other dietary or lifestyle changes that your doctor tells you to make, as these are in the best interests of your health. Above, you can find full details regarding the side effects you may experience when taking Pancrelipase. If you do experience any of the more serious ones, then you should inform your doctor immediately. If you have any other questions about this medicine, then you should contact your doctor for guidance.