EPI: A chronic condition with no cure
Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is a condition that results from a deficiency in the production and/or secretion of pancreatic enzymes. EPI affects many patient populations, including patients with cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, inflammatory bowel disease and HIV infection. Approximately 85 percent of cystic fibrosis patients also have EPI.
The decreased production of pancreatic enzymes leads to improper absorption and digestion of dietary fats and proteins, which may result in chronic diarrhea, significant weight loss and malnutrition. Reduced fat absorption also has negative impacts on the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins. This can lead to secondary effects such as, decreased vision and immune activity (Vitamin A), osteoporosis and osteopenia (Vitamin D) and increased risk of atherosclerosis, severe fatigue and decreased muscle tone.1
There is no cure for EPI and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is the main treatment for the condition.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Links and Information
- Nieto JM and Bastida A. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency: A literature review. Gastroenterol Hepatol Open Access. 2016; 4(2):00092.