Pancreatology: debunked myths
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Gubergrits, N. B., & Byelyayeva, N. V. (2020). Pancreatology: debunked myths. Herald of Pancreatic Club, 48(3), 44-53.

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Enzyme replacement therapy is not always effective enough upon exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. One of the main reasons is myths — doctors’ misconceptions about the indications and rules of replacement therapy.

In particular, there is an outdated opinion about the effectiveness of tablet enzyme preparations used for the relief of pancreatic pain. However, a number of evidence-based studies have proved that enzyme preparations are not effective enough to relieve pain in chronic pancreatitis, and thus should not be used for this purpose. This statement is recorded in the United European Gastroenterology evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and therapy of chronic pancreatitis, as well as in the recommendations of the American College of Gastroenterology. In addition, tablet preparations are characterized by asynchronism of the passage of the chyme and the tablet along the digestive tract.

The second myth is that drugs without an acid-resistant coat start hydrolyzing the components of the chyme in the stomach, which ensures higher efficiency as compared to Creon. But in the absence of a coat, enzymes are inactivated in the acidic environment of the stomach and cannot have any effect at all.

The third myth is that enzyme preparations always cause constipation. In fact, constipation occurs in no more than 10% of cases. They are usually associated with an overdose of the drug, concomitant pathology or insufficient compliance.

The fourth myth is that prescribing the doses of enzyme preparations indicated in the European Guidelines causes addiction. It is crucial to know that such doses do not exceed 10% of the pancreas’s own capacities, therefore, they cannot significantly affect these capabilities, which is also demonstrated by evidence-based studies.

The fifth myth is that patients gain weight because of enzyme preparations, and they should not be prescribed upon overweight and obesity. Numerous data firmly show that pancreatic insufficiency often occurs in such cases, and enzyme preparations are required.

The sixth myth is that a drug with a different composition can be produced under the usual established product name. For example, NEO is added to the name to “mask” a drug with a new composition. Doctors should carefully monitor the composition of such drugs.

The seventh myth is that a minimicrospherical preparation (Creon) is as effective as microspherical preparation. However, this statement turned out to be a myth as well. Minimicrospherical preparations are proved to be significantly more effective in clinical practice.

Thus, the above-mentioned myths, like many others, are based on insufficient knowledge in the field of pancreatology.
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