Chronic Pancreatitis and EPI

Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pancreas. It is progressive, meaning it happens over a number of years, so it is often diagnosed later in adulthood (typically between 51-58 years of age). The most common cause of CP is chronic excessive alcohol intake.

Chronic pancreatitis is the leading cause of EPI. Damage to pancreatic cells results in the pancreas failing to provide the digestive enzymes necessary to absorb nutrients from food.


Symptoms of EPI include abdominal discomfort/cramping, bloating, diarrhea, excessive gas, malnutrition and subsequent weight loss, muscle wasting and secondary complications (e.g., osteoporosis, neurological conditions, excessive bleeding, visual impairment).


Other Conditions

Other conditions that may be associated with EPI include: Type 1 and 2 Diabetes, Irritable Bowel Disease, Celiac Disease, Pancreatic Cancer (Inoperable), and Pancreatectomy. 
Fortunately, PERTs like PANCREAZE® relieve these symptoms by replacing the enzymes, allowing for digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. This helps reduce the risk for the development of potentially serious malnutrition-related consequences. Your doctor will determine the right amount of PANCREAZE® for you, and the optimal way to take your dose. For some patients, splitting the dose over the course of a meal may be beneficial.
What is the most important information I should know about PANCREAZE®?​

PANCREAZE® may increase your chance of having a serious, rare bowel disorder called fibrosing colonopathy that may require surgery. The risk of having this condition may be reduced by following the dosing instructions that your healthcare provider gave you.

Take PANCREAZE® exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more or less PANCREAZE® than directed by your doctor.

Call your doctor right away if you have any unusual or severe stomach area (abdominal) pain, bloating, trouble passing stool (having bowel movements), nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What should I tell my doctor before taking PANCREAZE®?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to pork (pig) products
  • have a history of blockage of your intestines, or scarring or thickening of your bowel wall (fibrosing colonopathy)
  • have gout, kidney disease, or high blood uric acid (hyperuricemia)
  • have trouble swallowing capsules
  • have any other medical condition
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

What are the possible side effects of PANCREAZE®?

PANCREAZE® may cause serious side effects, including:

  • A rare bowel disorder called fibrosing colonopathy.
  • Irritation of the inside of your mouth. This can happen if PANCREAZE® is not swallowed completely.
  • Increase in blood uric acid levels. This may cause worsening of swollen, painful joints (gout) caused by an increase in your blood uric acid levels.
  • Allergic reactions including trouble with breathing, skin rashes, or swollen lips.

The most common side effects include pain in your stomach (abdominal pain) and gas.

These are not all the side effects of PANCREAZE®. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or You may also report side effects to VIVUS, Inc. at 1-888-998-4887.

How do I take PANCREAZE®?
  • Do not crush or chew the PANCREAZE® capsules or their contents, and do not hold the capsule or contents in your mouth. Take PANCREAZE® exactly as your doctor tells you. Read the Medication Guide for directions on how to give PANCREAZE® to adults and children (children older than 12 months).
  • Read the Medication Guide for directions on how to give PANCREAZE® to infants (children up to 12 months).
Please read the PANCREAZE® Medication Guide and PANCREAZE® Product Information and discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

The National Pancreas Foundation
Kleeffet al 2017. Nat Rev Dis Primer. 3:17060.
Othman et al. 2017. Internat J Clin Practice. DOI:10.1111/ijcp.13066