Desensitization to pancreatic enzyme intolerance in a child with cystic fibrosis.
OBJECTIVE: Pancreatic enzyme is essential in the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF), but intolerance to it occasionally occurs. We encountered a child who was intolerant to multiple commercially available preparations of pancreatic enzymes and, hence, desensitization was attempted, with success. CASE PRESENTATION: A 33-month-old girl was diagnosed with CF at 6 months of age. Initially, she was started on Pancrease MT 16, which was subsequently discontinued because fecal fat studies were normal and she seemed to do well on Nutramigen and vitamin supplements. At 29 months of age, she developed diarrhea with bulky stools and weight loss. A fecal fat 72-hour study revealed a coefficient of absorption of 50%. She was treated with Pancrease MT 16, but had consistent vomiting 1 to 2 hours after administration of enzymes. The vomiting occurred on switching to different pancreatic enzymes preparations, ie, Creon 10, Viokase, and Pancrease MT 16. Vomiting occurred even with small doses of enzymes disguised in food. She had no history suggestive of gastroesophageal reflux, peptic ulcer, or pork allergy, and no vomiting on days when enzymes were not given. This was suggestive of type I hypersensitivity reaction. Pancreatic enzymes were discontinued, and she was given a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet with satisfactory weight gain. METHODS: Double-blind, placebo-controlled titrated oral challenges with pancreatic enzymes resulted in definite vomiting within 1 to 1.5 hours after challenges with Viokase and Pancrease MT 16, but not with placebo. Rush oral desensitization with Viokase solution was attempted, starting with 5 mg, and the dose was doubled every 20 minutes, aiming to reach a cumulative dose of 700 mg. However, the child vomited when a cumulative dose of 315 mg was reached. Another trial of slower desensitization was done using Pancrease MT 16 (1 capsule: 16 000 U of lipase, 48 000 U of amylase, and 48 000 U of protease), starting with 1/4 capsule per day, with increments of 1/4 capsule every 3 days, until an entire capsule was reached by day 10, then increased by approximately 1/2 capsule every 4 days until reaching the therapeutic dose of 1 capsule with each meal by day 25. RESULTS: The patient tolerated this fairly well and has been on this treatment and regular diet for >1 year, without any adverse reaction. This illustrates a rare case of gastrointestinal adverse reaction to pancreatic enzymes that was treated successfully with desensitization. CONCLUSION: Pancreatic enzyme intolerance, although rare, would be a major problem in the management of patients with CF. Hence, desensitization would be essential and may be accomplished successfully using the protocol described in this report.
Chamarthy, LM; Reinstein, LJ; Schnapf, B; Good, RA; Bahna, SL
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