In addition to pain medicine, people who have chronic illness may take pancreatic enzymes and insulin because their damaged pancreas no longer produces enough of these.
You may need one or more medicines to treat chronic pancreatitis. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Pain medicine. Mild pain is first treated with a medicine such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If you have stronger pain, you may be given an opiate pain reliever.
- Pancreatic enzyme supplements. In advanced chronic pancreatitis, the pancreas may stop producing the enzymes needed to digest fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Enzyme supplements at meals can help the body digest fats, allowing you to retain nutrients and gain weight.
- Insulin. Advanced chronic pancreatitis can lead to diabetes if the part of the pancreas that produces insulin becomes damaged.
What to think about
Side effects of pancreatic enzymes that are given to treat chronic pancreatitis include abdominal (belly) discomfort and soreness of the mouth and the anus. People who are allergic to pork or who do not eat pork for other reasons should not take these enzymes, because they are made of pork protein. In young children, high doses of pancreatic enzymes could cause a bowel obstruction.