Generic Drug Name: Pancrelipase
Other Common Names: Viokase, Pancrezyme
Pancrelipase is primarily used to replace certain pancreatic enzymes (lipase and amylase) needed for normal digestion. It is typically used in the treatment of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency in cats and dogs.
Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency causes an inability to normally digest food and generally results from repeated bouts of pancreatitis. It may also occur due to abnormal development of the pancreas or because of pancreatic atrophy. Pancrelipase is made from the pancreas of pigs.
Pancrelipase does not typically cause side effects when used as directed. High doses can cause cramping, diarrhea, and nausea. It is important that cats and dogs eat or drink following each dose of pancrelipase in order to prevent esophageal ulcers. This medication is usually necessary throughout life.
The powdered form of pancrelipase must be washed off the skin of human and animals immediately to prevent irritation. Inhaling the powder can cause mucous membrane irritation or trigger asthma and should be avoided.
Antacids and H2 receptor antagonists, such as cimetidine, can potentially interact with pancrelipase and should not be given at the same time.
Pancrelipase should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. Overdose of pancrelipase can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea. These symptoms may be mild or severe. Any known or suspected overdose should be reported to a veterinarian right away.
Pancrelipase should be stored in a tightly closed container, at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, and in a cool and dry location. This drug should be kept away from children and pets. It is not to be stored in a bathroom or above the kitchen sink; heat and moisture can cause a breakdown of this medication.
Pancrelipase is available as tablets, powders, and capsules. Because the powder form is generally most effective, it is more commonly used than other forms of the product. A typical dose for dogs is 1 to 2 teaspoons of pancrelipase powder mixed into food and allowed to stand for 20 minutes prior to eating. For cats, a typical dose is 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon.
Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.
If a dose of pancrelipase is missed, it should be given as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular schedule resumed. Two doses of this medication should not be given at once.