[Conservative treatment of chronic pancreatitis]

A Schneider, M V Singer
Praxis 2005 May 18, 94 (20): 831-8
Chronic pancreatitis represents an inflammatory disease of the pancreas with progressive fibrotic destruction of the gland. The disease is characterized by abdominal pain, exocrine and endocrine insufficiency. Morphological alterations of the pancreas and signs of exocrine and endocrine insufficiency are difficult to detect early in the course of the disease. The conservative treatment of chronic pancreatitis aims at (1) control of abdominal pain, (2) replacing lost exocrine function, (3) treatment of endocrine insufficiency, (4) prevention of weight loss or achievement of weight gain, (5) limiting progression and complications of the disease, and finally (6) psychiatric and social advice with special emphasis on the treatment of chronic alcohol abuse. The patient must be counselled about the importance of abstinence from alcohol. Abdominal pain is controlled with strict analgetic medication using a step-by-step approach in increasing the dosage. Exocrine insufficiency is treated with a diet of several small meals per day and supplementation of pancreatic enzymes. Endocrine insufficiency is treated with insulin.

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