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Education Series

What is EPI?

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that can occur when the pancreas is unable to make the digestive enzymes it should. As a result, your body isn’t able to digest food into nutrients such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.

View transcript

Narrator2,3:

I want to talk to you today about a condition that affects digestion called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Phew, that’s a mouthful - let’s just call it EPI.

So, what do you need to know?

Well, EPI can happen when your pancreas isn’t producing enough digestive enzymes.

Most people don’t even realize that the pancreas plays an important role in digestion.

Think of your digestive system as a factory that is constantly working to help break down your food and turn it into energy.

Your mouth helps start this process by breaking down your food into pieces that are small enough to be swallowed.

When these food pieces reach the stomach, they mix with gastric juices that help break the food down even more.

Once the broken-down food enters the small intestine, it’s time for the pancreas to do its job.

The pancreas makes enzymes that break down the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates found in food, which are called nutrients...

...so that they can be absorbed in the intestines and used by the body.

When you have EPI, your pancreas isn’t fully functional,...

...so food doesn’t get broken down properly.

This is called maldigestion.

Undigested food in your intestines can result in digestive issues...

...and because your food isn’t broken down properly, your body can’t fully absorb the nutrients you need.

This is called malabsorption.

You should know that EPI is typically a chronic condition, but the good news is it is manageable. So it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.

Uses

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, chronic pancreatitis (which is the swelling of the pancreas that lasts a long time), pancreatectomy (which is the removal of some or all of the pancreas), 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 or 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 or decreased blood sugars, pain in your stomach 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 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.

Please see the full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, provided on this website and discuss it with your doctor.

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Video Transcript

Narrator2,3:

I want to talk to you today about a condition that affects digestion called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Phew, that’s a mouthful - let’s just call it EPI.

So, what do you need to know?

Well, EPI can happen when your pancreas isn’t producing enough digestive enzymes.

Most people don’t even realize that the pancreas plays an important role in digestion.

Think of your digestive system as a factory that is constantly working to help break down your food and turn it into energy.

Your mouth helps start this process by breaking down your food into pieces that are small enough to be swallowed.

When these food pieces reach the stomach, they mix with gastric juices that help break the food down even more.

Once the broken-down food enters the small intestine, it’s time for the pancreas to do its job.

The pancreas makes enzymes that break down the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates found in food, which are called nutrients...

...so that they can be absorbed in the intestines and used by the body.

When you have EPI, your pancreas isn’t fully functional,...

...so food doesn’t get broken down properly.

This is called maldigestion.

Undigested food in your intestines can result in digestive issues...

...and because your food isn’t broken down properly, your body can’t fully absorb the nutrients you need.

This is called malabsorption.

You should know that EPI is typically a chronic condition, but the good news is it is manageable. So it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.

Uses

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, chronic pancreatitis (which is the swelling of the pancreas that lasts a long time), pancreatectomy (which is the removal of some or all of the pancreas), 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 or 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 or decreased blood sugars, pain in your stomach 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 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.

Please see the full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, provided on this website and discuss it with your doctor.

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. CREON [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc.
  3. Fieker A, Philpott J, Armand M. Enzyme replacement therapy for pancreatic insufficiency: present and future. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2011;4:55-73.
  4. Ferrone M, Raimondo M, Scolapio JS. Pancreatic enzyme pharmacotherapy. Pharmacotherapy. 2007;27(6):910-920.

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