Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) Diagnosis

EPI is a condition that sometimes can be overlooked2

Primary care doctors may be able to diagnose EPI and provide treatment options. However, in some cases, they refer people to a specialist—usually a gastroenterologist. If you think you might have EPI, you can help your doctor by providing as much information as possible about what you’re experiencing.

How EPI is diagnosed

Your doctor may be able to diagnose EPI based on your medical history and symptoms. If your doctor decides to use a test to confirm a diagnosis of EPI, there are several different types of tests that can be performed, some of which use stool samples.

How EPI is managed

Pancreatic Pancreatic
PERTs help when your
pancreas isn't working right.
Enzyme Enzyme
Your body needs enzymes
to digest food.
Replacement Replacement
PERTs give your body the
enzymes it's missing.
Therapy Therapy
This is a medicine you take
every time you eat.

In addition to PERTs, it’s important to adopt healthy habits, which can include eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough physical activity, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, limiting alcohol intake, and quitting cigarette smoking. Your doctor may prescribe vitamin supplements since EPI can make it hard to absorb vitamins from food—specifically fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).3

therapy (PERT)
Diet and
Lifestyle modifications,
including a nutritionally well-
balanced diet, abstaining from
alcohol, and smoking cessation
Vitamin and mineral
supplements, including
fat-soluble vitamins
A, D, E, and K

If you’ve been diagnosed with EPI, the good news is that it is a manageable condition. To help treat your EPI, your doctor may prescribe PERTs. PERTs contain enzymes that your body may be missing, to help you break down the food you eat. PERTs are the standard of care for EPI.3

Learn About Communicating
With Your Doctor
Hear from other people who have EPI

Hear from other people who have EPI

Watch Videos
Certain conditions are associated with EPI

Certain conditions are
associated with EPI

Learn More
CREON® (pancrelipase) can help break down food and release nutrients

CREON can help break down food and release nutrients

Find Out How

Uses and Important Safety Information


CREON is a prescription medicine used to treat people who cannot digest food normally because their pancreas does not make enough enzymes due to cystic fibrosis, swelling of the pancreas that lasts a long time (chronic pancreatitis), removal of some or all of the pancreas (pancreatectomy), or other conditions.

Important Safety Information

  • CREON may increase your chance of having a rare bowel disorder called fibrosing colonopathy. The risk of having this condition may be reduced by following the dosing instructions that your doctor gave you.
  • Do not crush or chew CREON capsules or its contents, and do not hold the capsule or capsule contents in your mouth. Crushing, chewing, or holding the CREON capsules in your mouth may cause irritation in your mouth. Talk to your doctor or consult the CREON Medication Guide for how to take CREON if you have trouble swallowing capsules. Always take CREON with a meal or snack and enough liquid to swallow CREON completely. Take CREON exactly as your doctor tells you.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have unusual or severe: stomach (abdominal) pain, bloating, trouble passing stool, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, worsening of painful, swollen joints (gout), or allergic reactions including trouble with breathing, skin rashes, or swollen lips.
  • The most common side effects include: increased (hyperglycemia) or decreased (hypoglycemia) blood sugars, pain in your stomach area (abdominal area), frequent or abnormal bowel movements, gas, vomiting, dizziness, or sore throat and cough.
  • CREON and other pancreatic enzyme products are made from the pancreas of pigs, the same pigs people eat as pork. These pigs may carry viruses. Although it has never been reported, it may be possible for a person to get a viral infection from taking pancreatic enzyme products that come from pigs.

Refer to the CREON Medication Guide and Full Prescribing Information every time you refill your prescription because information may change. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any symptom or side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

You are encouraged to report negative adverse effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

If you cannot afford your medication, contact www.pparx.org.

Reference: 1. CREON [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc.

  1. References:
  2. CREON [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc.
  3. Leeds JS, Oppong K, Sanders DS. The role of fecal elastase-1 in detecting exocrine pancreatic disease. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011;8(7):405-415.
  4. Domínguez-Muñoz JE. Pancreatic enzyme therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2007;9(2):116-122.

back to top Back to Top Arrow