What is Pancrelipase?

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  • Written By: Micki Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 April 2019
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Pancrelipase is a type of pharmaceutical drug that is sold under several different names. It generally contains a mixture of three enzymes necessary for proper digestion. These enzymes, normally produced by the pancreas, are lacking in some people with particular diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis. The resulting digestion problems like bloating, diarrhea, or fatty stool can be painful and embarrassing. Pancrelipase could help decrease or eliminate symptoms, but cannot cure digestion issues.

In order to properly break down foods in the stomach and intestines, the pancreas produces enzymes such as lipase, amylase and trypsin. This process enables the body to absorb energy and nutrients from food. Enzymes also make it possible for the body to create waste to be passed via normal bowel movements.

When particular diseases or injuries impair the normal functioning of the pancreas, these enzymes may be blocked or might not be produced sufficiently. Cystic fibrosis, for instance, is a disease in which the pancreas suffers from cysts and scarring. Constant inflammation of the pancreas, commonly called chronic pancreatitis, could also present problems. Even an injury or previous surgery on the pancreas or stomach may impede the production of enzymes.


Pancrelipase could provide the digestive tract with the enzymes that patients with these conditions may lack. It is generally sold in tablets and capsules. Taken in the recommended dosage with every meal, this drug could clear up the various symptoms that may otherwise arise.

Without pancrelipase, a person who cannot produce digestive enzymes on his own would probably suffer from bloating, cramps and gas after each meal. Nutrients may not be extracted from foods and released into the blood stream, leaving him feeling fatigued or ill over time. Irregular bowel movements such as diarrhea or constipation may occur as well.

Another frequent problem that pancrelipase is said to correct is unnaturally foul-smelling bowel movements. When fats and other elements of the diet are not digested properly, the body simply eliminates them. This occurrence, however, may mean that the body is not getting the energy it needs from food.

Individuals who have frequent problems with bowel movements and believe they may be suffering from a lack of digestive enzymes should consult a doctor who can recommend the proper brand and dosage. There are many side effects that may result from this drug. Most are related to the digestive tract, such as constipation and bloating.

Before a doctor prescribes pancrelipase, he should be aware of other medications and dietary supplements the patient takes. For instance, too much iron in the diet could upset the side effects of pancrelipase. Any allergies, especially intolerance to pork, should also be reported.



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