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There are several reasons you may receive a prescription to buy Viokace, a pancreatic enzyme preparation that consists of lipase, protease, and amylase. The most common reason is chronic pancreatitis which is often the cause of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Without the help of these enzymes, the food you eat cannot be broken down so your intestines will not fully absorb the fats and proteins and they simply pass right through your body without being used.
Your pancreas is a large gland situated behind your stomach and has two main purposes; it helps with the digestion of your food by releasing digestive enzymes, as well as releasing insulin and glucagon into your bloodstream. Both are hormones that help to manage your blood sugar levels.
The active ingredient of Viokace is Pancrelipase, which includes three essential enzymes called lipase, protease, and amylase. When taken as directed, lipase breaks down fats for digestion so your intestine is able to absorb it. Protease enzymes have several functions in your body and the main one is to process protein so your body can absorb it. Amylase is secreted in your saliva and pancreatic juices that are emitted into the short part of your small intestines to break down starch.
Fat is important for providing over half of your body’s energy requirements; protein will be broken down into amino acids that are used for several functions, such as building new proteins and to help with communication between cells; and starch or carbohydrates that can be converted into glucose and be stored for a short time to be used as energy.
Some patients may have undergone a partial or total removal of their pancreas (pancreatectomy) as a result of pancreatic cancer, pre-malignant pancreatic tumors, or chronic pancreatitis (CP) where there is severe damage from heavy alcohol consumption.
A genetic disease called cystic fibrosis (CF) affects your pancreas and digestive system due to the thick and sticky mucus build-up that can block the normal functioning of digesting your food. The enzymes are unable to get to your intestine to do their job so nutrients are lost and this can affect normal growth and cause an unhealthy weight loss.
To determine if taking Viokace is safe for you, tell your doctor about other medical conditions or allergies you have and provide a list of Rx drugs and over-the-counter medications you take, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements. To help prevent the breakdown of Viokace in your stomach, you may be prescribed a proton pump inhibitor to reduce stomach acid. Ask your doctor if taking Viokace while pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding is harmful to your unborn or nursing baby.
Viokace should be swallowed whole to avoid irritation in your mouth from chewing or crushing the pills. You should not start new or stop current medications without talking to your doctor first as this could alter the efficacy of Viokace.