Background: Cystic fibrosis causes exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, leading to malabsorption. Supplemental pancreatic enzyme therapy alleviates the concomitant malnutrition experienced by cystic fibrosis patients. It is recognized that patients experience variations in clinical response to different brands of enzymes. This has prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to require that enzyme supplements be subjected to New Drug Applications.
Aim: To investigate the safety and efficacy of supplemental pancreatic enzyme therapy in cystic fibrosis subjects.
Methods: We compared two doses of one formulation of enteric-coated pancreatic enzymes: Ultrase MT12 (12,000 lipase units per capsule) and Ultrase MT20 (20,000 lipase units per capsule), to placebo in two separate safety and efficacy studies.
Results: Mean total fat, protein and carbohydrate intake did not differ significantly between the groups. A significant difference in both fat and protein absorption occurred with the enzyme therapy groups. The Ultrase MT12 and Ultrase MT20 groups experienced a mean fat and protein absorption 79.4% and 83.8%, and 87.3% and 88.6%, respectively. No adverse events related to study drug were reported.
Conclusions: This study further supports the use of enzymes to treat pancreatic insufficiency in cystic fibrosis. Excellent fat and protein absorption was achieved with minimal adverse events and safe doses.