Pancreatic insufficiency occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough enzymes to properly break down and digest food. It often results in malnutrition or a deficiency in vitamins or minerals. Pancreatic insufficiency may be caused by damage to or inflammation of the pancreas, and certain inherited diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. Celiac disease and Crohn's disease also increase the risk of pancreatic insufficiency developing.
Typically, symptoms of pancreatic insufficiency involve digestive problems, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Other signs of the condition include abdominal pain, fatty stools, and signs of malnutrition, such as muscle weakness, low body weight, tiredness, and osteoporosis.
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and eating a healthier diet may be recommended for patients with pancreatic insufficiency. Other possible treatments are enzyme replacement therapy to replace the enzymes the pancreas is not producing, and pain-relieving medication to treat the symptoms.Drug classes used to treat pancreatic insufficiency are pancreatic enzymes, vitamin supplements and antacids.