People who have been diagnosed as suffering from Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) may have been prescribed the drug Creon. EPI occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough digestive enzymes and as a result the body can’t properly digest the food into nutrients. The normal pancreas makes three key digestive enzymes – lipase (which breaks down fats), protease (which breaks down proteins), and amylase (which breaks down carbohydrates). These help the body break down food intake into nutrients.
EPI may be due to cystic fibrosis, swelling of the pancreas that lasts (chronic pancreatitis), surgical removal of some or all of the pancreas (pancreatectomy), and some other conditions
Typical symptoms of EPI are oily and loose stools, bloating and gas, sudden weight loss and stomach pain. A consequence of EPI may be malabsorption, especially of fats, which can lead to malnutrition. As well, some vitamins, especially fat-soluble ones such as A, D, E and K may not be properly absorbed.
What is Creon and How Does it Work?
Creon (generic name: pancrelipase) is a prescription medicine used to treat people with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI). Creon is prescribed in specific doses to supply the enzymes that the pancreas isn’t producing. This will help to digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the food intake. The actual dosage will depend on personal factors including body weight and diet.
It is important to match the dosage with food intake. Creon should be taken with every meal.
Does Creon Have Any Side-Effects?
The reported side effects of Creon are fairly moderate.
Most common side effects are:
- Hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar levels) or Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
- Some abdominal pains
- Frequent bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Sore throat
If these persist, consult with your prescribing physician or pharmacist.
You should report immediately to a doctor or healthcare facility if you have:
- unusual or severe abdominal pain
- experience trouble passing stools
- excessive diarrhea
- continuous nausea or vomiting
- painful and swollen joints (gout)
- allergic reactions such as trouble with breathing, skin rashes, or swollen lips.
Creon may increase chances of the very rare bowel disorder known as fibrosing colonopathy. By following the dosing instructions you will reduce the risk of developing this condition.
Can I take an extra dose if I missed one?
The level of dosing is prescribed very carefully, based on body weight, to be taken with each meal. If you have missed a dose of Creon at mealtime, you should not make this up between meals or by taking an extra capsule at the next meal.
Are there any contra-indications for Creon?
The incidence of fibrosing colonopathy is higher in young people, those who have undergone prior surgery of the intestines, and are using certain medications including corticosteroids and H2 blockers. To prevent this condition, a maximum dose of 10,000 IU of lipase per kilogram of body weight per day is recommended. The prescribing doctor would have taken into account the risk for you against the benefits that Creon supplies.
Doctors exercise caution when prescribing Creon to patients with gout, renal impairment, or hyperuricemia. If your doctor may not be aware of these pre-existing conditions, you should inform them.