Why have I been prescribed Creon®?
Your healthcare professional has prescribed you Creon® because they have diagnosed you as suffering from Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI). To understand the condition, it helps to know how the pancreas normally functions.
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 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 fat sufficiently 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 stools.
Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI)
Some people lack the amount of pancreatic enzymes needed to break down food sufficiently 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 break down or they are not activated/they become deactivated.
Possible effects of PEI
Short-term: PEI can lead to: tummy pain, fatty stools, diarrhoea, increased wind and weight loss.
Long-term: PEI 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.