Medical Treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis



Ann. Ital. Chir., LXXI, 1, 2000

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The medical treatment has an important role in patients with chronic pancreatitis. Pain is the most frequent symptom, at least in the initial phases of the disease. In about 60% of patients it can be successfully treated by medical therapy; in the remaining 40% it requires surgery. Malabsorption of fat and protein and diabetes usually appear in the advanced stages of the disease. The treatment of these complications is based on the administration of pancreatic extracts and insulin. There are several types of pancreatic extracts; the most useful are those with high lipase content and high lipaseprotease ratio. Moreover, they should be protected against gastric acid and should have a gastric emptying simultaneously with chyme, with a rapid liberation of enzymes into the duodenum. The treatment of diabetes usually requires low-moderate doses of insulin. Diabetic chetoacidosis is rare, while microvascular changes have the same frequency as in type 1 diabetes.