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Home > Wellness > Health Library > Enzyme Replacement Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis
Enzymes help a person who has
cystic fibrosis digest food by replacing digestive
enzymes that are normally released by the
pancreas. Pancrelipase is available in tablet, powder,
or capsule form.
These enzymes are used by people who
have cystic fibrosis whose pancreatic ducts are blocked. The blockage prevents
digestive enzymes that are made by the pancreas from reaching the intestines,
where they are needed for digestion.
Enzyme supplements can replace
natural enzymes so that fat and proteins can be absorbed properly, which
improves nutrition and reduces fatty stools.
People with cystic
fibrosis who receive enzyme replacement therapy can eat the same foods as
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects with high doses of this medicine include:
If you use the powder form of this medicine, do not breathe in the powder. You could have side effects such as stuffy nose, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing.
If you take the tablet form of this medicine, swallow it right away. It can irritate your mouth if you hold the tablet in your mouth.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Follow the eating plan your doctor gave you. This can help the medicine work properly and can help prevent indigestion.
Drink plenty of water while you are using this medicine.
One brand or dose form (tablet, capsule, liquid) may work
better for you than another. Don't switch products before talking to your doctor first.
Enzymes may not work as well if you have too
much acid in your stomach. Your doctor may suggest that you take another medicine to stop
the stomach from making too much acid. Do not use antacids that contain calcium carbonate and/or magnesium hydroxate. They may not let the pancrelipase work properly.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
July 18, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Susanna McColley, MD - Pediatric Pulmonology
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