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Pancreatic enzyme supplements

Information about pancreatic enzyme supplements including Creon, Pancrease, Nutrizym and Pancrex.

Pancreatic enzyme supplements replace the enzymes that your pancreas would normally produce. This is known as pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). They help to break down food, and can help to manage the diet symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic enzyme supplements can make a big difference to how you feel.

You should be told about pancreatic enzyme supplements by your doctor, nurse or dietitian. If you think you have symptoms, ask about enzyme supplements. 

Different types of enzyme supplements are available in the UK:

  • Creon®
  • Pancrease®
  • Nutrizym®
  • Pancrex®.

Some enzyme supplements have a number after the name – for example, Creon 25,000. This shows the strength of the dose of enzymes. It may sound like a lot, but it's not as much as the pancreas would normally produce. Creon 40,000 won’t be available after June 2019 – read more about this.

Pancreatic enzyme supplements are usually prescribed as capsules, but they are also available as granules or powder.

All pancreatic enzyme supplements are made from pork products, and unfortunately there is no alternative. Organisations representing Jewish and Muslim communities have said that these treatments are acceptable to use. Talk to your doctor if you are allergic to pork products. Vegetarian enzymes are sold in some health food shops and online, but they provide very low doses, are expensive and there is no evidence to show that they work.

If you have any questions about pancreatic enzyme supplements and how to take them, speak to your doctor, nurse or dietitian. You can also speak to our specialist nurses on our Support Line with any questions.

Click on the links below to read more about pancreatic enzyme supplements.

How do I take pancreatic enzyme supplements?

How do I know if I am taking enough enzymes?

What happens if I take too many enzymes?

What if the enzymes don't help?

Are there any side effects to enzyme supplements?

Other supplements


Updated November 2017

To be reviewed November 2019

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