April 30, 2017
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"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pancreaze Delayed Release Capsules, a pancreatic enzyme product (PEP). It is the third such product to receive FDA approval.

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Side Effects


The most serious adverse reactions reported with different pancreatic enzyme products of the same active ingredient (pancrelipase) include fibrosing colonopathy, hyperuricemia and allergic reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to the rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

The short-term safety of ZENPEP was assessed in two clinical trials conducted in 53 patients, ages 1 to 23 years, with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) due to CF. In both studies, ZENPEP was administered in doses of approximately 5,000 lipase units per kilogram per day, for lengths of treatment ranging from 19 to 42 days. The population was nearly evenly distributed in gender, and approximately 96% of patients were Caucasian.

Study 1 was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-treatment, crossover study of 34 patients, ages 7 to 23 years, with EPI due to CF. In this study, patients were randomized to receive ZENPEP at individually titrated doses (not to exceed 2,500 lipase units per kilogram per meal) or matching placebo for 6 to 7 days of treatment, followed by crossover to the alternate treatment for an additional 6 to 7 days. The mean exposure to ZENPEP during this study, including titration period and open label transition, was 30 days.

The incidence of adverse events (regardless of causality) was similar during double blind ZENPEP treatment (56%) and placebo treatment (50%). The most common adverse events reported during the study were gastrointestinal complaints, which were reported more commonly during placebo treatment (41%) than during ZENPEP treatment (32%), and headache, which was reported more commonly during ZENPEP treatment (15%) than during placebo treatment (0). The type and incidence of adverse events were similar in children (711 years), adolescents (12-16 years), and adults (greater than 18 years).

Because clinical trials are conducted under controlled conditions, the observed adverse event rates may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

Table 1 enumerates treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred in at least 2 patients (greater than or equal to 6%) treated with either ZENPEP or placebo in Study 1. Adverse events were classified by Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA) terminology.

Table 1: Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events Occurring in at least 2 Patients (greater than or equal to 6%) During Treatment Period and Crossover Treatment Period of the Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Clinical Study of ZENPEP (Study 1)

MedDRA Primary System Organ Class Preferred Term ZENPEP
(N=34) %
(N=32) %
Gastrointestinal Disorders
  Abdominal pain 6 (18%) 9 (28%)
  Flatulence 2 (6%) 3 (9%)
Nervous System Disorders
  Headache 5 (15%) 0
Injury, Poisoning and Procedural Complications
  Contusion 2 (6%) 0
  Weight decreased 2 (6%) 2 (6%)
Respiratory, Thoracic and Mediastinal Disorders
  Cough 2 (6%) 0
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions
  Early Satiety 2 (6%) 0

Study 2 was an open-label, uncontrolled study of 19 patients, ages 1 to 6 years, with EPI due to CF. After a 414 days screening period on the current PEP, patients in Study 2 received ZENPEP at individually titrated doses ranging between 2,300 and 10,000 lipase units per kg body weight per day, with a mean of approximately 5,000 lipase units per kg body weight per day (not to exceed 2,500 lipase units per kilogram per meal) for 14 days. There was no comparator treatment, and adverse events were collected on patient diary entries and at each study visit.

The most commonly reported adverse events were gastrointestinal, including abdominal pain and steatorrhea, and were similar in type and frequency to those reported in the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Study 1).

Postmarketing Experience

Postmarketing data for ZENPEP have been available since 2009. The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of Zenpep. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

The most commonly reported adverse events are gastrointestinal disorders (including abdominal distension, abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation and nausea) and skin disorders (including pruritus, urticaria, and rash).

In patients at risk for abnormal blood glucose levels glycemic control may be affected by administration of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy. Consideration should be given to additional glucose monitoring in these patients.

Delayed-and immediate-release pancreatic enzyme products with different formulations of the same active ingredient (pancrelipase) have been used for the treatment of patients with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency due to cystic fibrosis and other conditions, such as chronic pancreatitis. The long-term safety profile of these products has been described in the medical literature. The most serious adverse events include fibrosing colonopathy, distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS), recurrence of pre-existing carcinoma, and severe allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, asthma, hives, and pruritus.

In general, pancreatic enzyme products have a well defined and favorable risk-benefit profile in exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Read the Zenpep (pancrelipase delayed release capsules) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


No drug interactions have been identified. No formal interaction studies have been conducted.

Read the Zenpep Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 11/28/2016

Side Effects

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