Why have I been prescribed Creon?
Your healthcare professional has prescribed you Creon because they believe you have a condition called Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI). To understand the condition, it helps to know how the pancreas should function.
The pancreas is vital to digestion
The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system that produces several important hormones, as well as pancreatic juice. Pancreatic juice contains digestive enzymes (including lipases) that help the body to break down the proteins, fats and carbohydrates found in food so they are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Enzymes help us to gain nutrients from food
During a meal, a healthy pancreas will release about 720,000 lipase units. When the pancreas produces less than 10% of the normal amount of lipase, the body cannot break down enough fat to maintain normal digestion. When this happens, important fats and nutrients cannot be extracted and absorbed from the food that we eat. Instead these are passed through the body as waste, resulting in fatty, smelly and unpleasant diarrhoea.
Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI)
Some people lack the amount of enzymes needed to breakdown enough food to maintain healthy nutrition levels. This is called Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI). There are a number of different diseases that can cause PEI. With PEI these enzymes are either not produced at normal levels by the pancreas, they are not able to reach the food that they need to breakdown or they do not become active.
Possible effects of PEI
Short-term: PEI can lead to: tummy pain, fatty stools, diarrhoea, increased wind and weight loss.
Long-term: It is associated with more serious conditions such as malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis and increased risk of cardiovascular complications. All of these may lower life expectancy.