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Generic name: Pancrelipase
Other brand names: Creon, Pancrease MT, Viokase, Ultrase
Why is this drug prescribed: Pancrease is used to treat pancreatic enzyme deficiency. It is often prescribed for people with cystic fibrosis, chronic inflammation of the pancreas, or blockages of the pancreas or common bile duct caused by cancer. It is also taken by people who have had their pancreas removed or who have had gastrointestinal bypass surgery. Pancrease is taken to help with digestion of proteins, starches, and fats.
Most important fact about this drug: Pancrease capsules should not be chewed or crushed.
How should you take this medication: Take this medication exactly as prescribed. If you are taking Pancrease for cystic fibrosis, your doctor may also prescribe a special diet for you. Be sure to follow the diet closely, as well as taking Pancrease. Pancrelipase is available in capsule, tablet, and powder forms. Do not change brands or dosage forms of this medication without first checking with your doctor. If swallowing the Pancrease capsule is difficult, open the capsule and shake the contents (microspheres) onto a small amount of soft food, such as applesauce or gelatin, that does not require chewing, then swallow immediately. Avoid mixing it with alkaline foods, such as ice cream or milk. They can reduce the medication's effect. Pancrease should be taken with meals and snacks. Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking Pancrease. Do not hold the medication in your mouth; it may irritate the lining. Be careful to avoid inhaling dust from the powdered form; it may irritate the nose, throat, and lungs, and has been known to cause asthma attacks. --If you miss a dose... Resume taking the medication with your next meal or snack. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container away from moisture. Do not refrigerate.
What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Pancrease. More common side effects may include: Stomach and intestinal upset Less common or rare side effects may include: Allergic-type reactions
Why should this drug not be prescribed: Pancrease should not be used if you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to pork protein, if you have a recently inflamed pancreas, or if you have a disease of the pancreas that gets worse.
Special warnings about this medication: If you develop an allergic reaction to Pancrease, stop taking the medication and inform your doctor immediately. If you have cystic fibrosis and develop any signs of an intestinal blockage, call your doctor.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If Pancrease is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either can be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important that you check with your doctor before combining Pancrease with the following: Certain antacids such as Tums and Milk of Magnesia Certain acid-blocking ulcer medications, such as Pepcid and Zantac
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of Pancrease during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known whether Pancrease appears in breast milk. Your doctor may advise you not to nurse while you are taking this drug.
Recommended dosage: ADULTS: The doctor will set your dosage according to your weight and your response to the enzymes, gradually increasing your dose until your digestion is adequate. Doses above 2,500 units per 2.2 pounds of body weight per meal are generally not recommended. CHILDREN: Your doctor will determine the best dosage of Pancrease based on the child's individual needs.
Overdosage: Although no specific information is available, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose of Pancrease, seek medical treatment immediately.