Signs and Symptoms of EPI

Symptoms of EPI are similar to other conditions that affect your stomach and digestion

Many people do not realize the pancreas plays an important role in digestion and that problems with the pancreas can result in digestive issues. When you have Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI), your body is missing the enzymes it needs to digest food, which causes important nutrients to pass through the body unabsorbed.2

This can lead to a number of signs and symptoms that may vary from person to person. People with EPI may have one, two, or several of the symptoms listed.

EPI symptoms may include2,3:

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Foul-smelling, greasy stools (steatorrhea)

People with EPI cannot absorb all of the fat that they eat. The undigested fat that passes through the digestive system may cause oily or greasy-looking stools. These stools may also smell really bad, float, and be difficult to flush.

Not all people experience steatorrhea, but it is the most common sign of EPI. Tell your doctor if you notice oil droplets in the toilet bowl or if your stools have the appearance of salad dressing or motor oil.

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Unexplained weight loss

People with EPI cannot properly digest or absorb the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates found in food, which can result in weight loss.

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Gas and bloating

Because people with EPI cannot properly digest food, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas and bloating.

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Stomach pain

The gas and bloating that sometimes happen with EPI can cause stomach pain.

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Frequent diarrhea

A symptom of fat malabsorption, diarrhea is commonly experienced by people with EPI.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, make sure you let your doctor know. Download the Doctor Discussion Guide to keep track of any symptoms you may be experiencing, and share them with your doctor.

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What is EPI?

Find Out More
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Underlying conditions and
procedures that may cause EPI

Learn More
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Your medical history and tests can help determine if you have EPI

See How

Uses and Important Safety Information

Uses1

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. Alkaade S, Vareedayah AA. A primer on exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, fat malabsorption, and fatty acid abnormalities. Am J Manag Care. 2017;23(12)(suppl):S203-S209.
  3. Durie P, Baillargeon J-D, Bouchard S, Donnellan F, Zepeda-Gomez S, Teshima C. Diagnosis and management of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) in primary care: consensus guidance of a Canadian expert panel. Curr Med Res Opin. 2018;34(1):25-33.
  4. Domínguez-Muñoz JE. Pancreatic enzyme therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2007;9(2):116-122.

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