According to the theory of negative feedback regulation of pancreatic enzyme secretion by proteases, treatment with pancreatic extracts has been proposed to lower pain in chronic pancreatitis by decreasing pancreatic duct pressure. We conducted a prospective placebo-controlled double blind multicenter study to investigate the effect of porcine pancreatic extracts on pain in chronic pancreatitis. 47 patients with pain (41 males, 6 females) due to chronic pancreatitis documented by sonography, endoscopic retograde cholangiopancreatography, and CT were included. Exclusion criteria were steatorrhea above 30 g/day, gastric or pancreatic resections in the history, and serum bilimbin above 1.5 mg/dl. Patients received pancreatic extracts (acid-protected microtablets; Panzytrat® -20,000; 5 X 2 capsules/day; proteases/capsule 1,000 Pharmacopoea europaea units) for 14 days followed by treatment with placebo for another 14 days or vice versa. Pain (graded from 0 to 3) and concomitant use of analgesics (N-butylscopolaminiumbromide and tramadol) were recorded by diary. Physical examination and blood chemistry were done at day -1,15 and 29. Quantitative stool fat was determined at days -2/-1, 13/14 and 27/28. 43 patients completed the studies. Pain improved in most patients irrespective of whether they started with placebo or verum. There was no significant difference between both treatment arms. We conclude that pancreatic extracts are not very efficient in lowering pain.

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