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Properties of different pancreatin preparations used in pancreatic exocrine insufficiency

Löhr, Johannes-Matthiasa d; Hummel, Frank M.a; Pirilis, Konstantinos T.b; Steinkamp, Gregorc; Körner, Andreasb; Henniges, Friederikeb

European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology: September 2009 - Volume 21 - Issue 9 - p 1024-1031
doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328328f414
Original Articles: Pancreatic Disorders

Background Pancreatic enzyme preparations are a life-saving substitution for a pivotal physiological function of the entire organism that is impaired in chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis and other diseases with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Pancreatic enzyme preparations, generically called pancreatin, are not alike. Rather, they present a broad variety of pancreatin composition.

Aim The properties of a set of commercially available pancreatin preparations were investigated in light of the physiological tasks such enzymes must fulfill during the normal digestive process.

Methods Measurements of size, surface, acid resistance, release of enzymes, pharmacokinetics and batch consistency were undertaken.

Results Although all pancreatin preparations contain the declared lipase units and are acid-stable, a wide variation was observed in the particle size (pyloric passage), specific surface area and release kinetics of lipase activity at pH 6 (duodenum).

Conclusion At present, available pancreatin preparations vary widely with respect to investigated parameters, which may have consequences for facilitating optimal digestion.

aII. Medizinische Klinik, Universitätsklinikum Mannheim, Universität Heidelberg

bSolvay Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Bereich Enzymforschung Hannover

cInstitut für Klinische Forschung, Hannover, Germany

dGastrocentrum, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence to Professor Johannes-Matthias Löhr, MD, Gastrocentrum, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Karolinska Institute University Hospital, Huddinge, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden

Tel: +46 8 585 59591; fax: +46 8 585 52340; e-mail:

Received 7 October 2008 Accepted 28 December 2008

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.