Update from Pancreatic Cancer UK on shortages of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT)

Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient enzymes or produce them at the right time to ensure adequate digestion. This can result in food not being digested properly and can lead to malabsorption. The main treatment for PEI is pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT). PERT is available in capsules that replace the enzymes that the pancreas would normally make. These help people with pancreatic cancer to digest their food by breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins in food.

As you may be aware, there are currently intermittent shortages of Creon 25,000 (a brand of PERT) across the UK. These shortages are also having an impact on supplies of other dosages and brands of PERT as demand for these alternative products grows. We know that this is affecting some patients’ ability to get PERT.

In response to this situation, a group of specialist pancreatic cancer dietitians and cystic fibrosis dietitians have developed health professional guidance. This guidance provides advice for healthcare professionals on what to do if a patient is running low or cannot get PERT.

It’s important that all health professionals who may see someone with pancreatic cancer, including pharmacists and GPs, are aware of the situation and have accurate, expert guidance to support patients during this challenging time.

Pancreatic Cancer UK has developed some information for patients, based on this guidance. It explains what patients can do if they can’t get enough or any PERT, including how they can manage their diet. This information is also available as a download fact sheet for you to share with your patients.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the team at Pancreatic Cancer UK.