EPI is when someone can't digest their food normally because their pancreas isn't making enough enzymes. The enzymes help break down the food you eat, so it can be absorbed into your body. If your body is not making enough pancreatic enzymes then this can result in the inability to digest food properly, or maldigestion.1-4 That's an important job!
EPI occurs when the pancreas doesn't make enough of the enzymes necessary to digest the food you eat. The pancreas produces the main digestive enzymes lipase, protease, and amylase.
When you have EPI, your body cannot properly absorb nutrients from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. People with EPI suffer from a number of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and may not get the necessary nutrition from their diet. Because the signs and symptoms of EPI are similar to those of other GI diseases, EPI may go undetected.5
Be sure to talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. Your doctor may be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options, or refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating disorders of the GI tract.
EPI can be tough to diagnose since symptoms are similar to those of other GI diseases. The following tests are commonly used to help diagnose EPI:
Fecal elastase test: Measures the amount of an enzyme (elastase) produced by the pancreas, in your stool
Fecal fat test : Measures the amount of fat in your stool
Measures the concentration of a protein (trypsinogen) produced by the pancreas that is found in your blood
Takes pictures of the pancreas to look for damage, using a flexible tube that is inserted through the mouth and travels through the stomach
Your doctor may take a number of approaches to manage the symptoms of EPI. Your doctor may recommend the following ways to manage your condition:
The information provided in this website is intended for U.S. healthcare professionals only.
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ZENPEP is a prescription medicine for people who cannot digest food normally because their pancreas does not make enough enzymes. ZENPEP may help your body use fats, proteins, and sugars from food. ZENPEP contains a mixture of digestive enzymes (lipases, proteases, and amylases) from pig pancreas. ZENPEP is safe and effective in children.
1. Wooldridge JL, Heubi JE, Amaro-Galvez R, et al. EUR-1008 pancreatic enzyme replacement is safe and effective in patients with cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency. J Cyst Fibros. 2009;8:405-417. 2. Al-Kaade S. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Medscape website. http://emedicine.medscape.com /article/2121028- overview. Accessed March 16, 2017. 3. Hardt PD, Ewald N. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency in diabetes mellitus: a complication of diabetic neuropathy or a different type of diabetes? Exp Diabetes Res. 2011;2011:1-7. 4. Domínguez-Muñoz JE. Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency: diagnosis and treatment. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;26(suppl 2):12-16. 5. Domínguez-Muñoz JE. Chronic pancreatitis and persistent steatorrhea: what is the correct dose of enzymes? Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;9:541-546.