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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 46(2); 2003 > Article
Kim: Use of Digestive Enzyme Preparations


The digestive enzyme preparations are one of the most widely used drugs in Korea. However, it is rather misused or abused. Pancreatic enzyme supplement is only indicated for pancreatic insufficiency, such as cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatectomized patients.
Pancreatic insufficiency causes malabsorption, most commonly manifested by steatorrhea. However, malabsorption symptoms are not apparent until the pancreas secretes less than 5% of its maximal secretory capacity, Which means that the use of enzyme preparations are very limited and should be prescribed after careful functional study of the pancreas.
In Korea, however, digestive enzyme preparations are OTC drugs and furthermore, laymen's organizations insist that the digestive enzymes be sold freely in supermarkets. The concept about the use of digestive enzymes should be changed, and their proper use by physicians as well as laymen must be emphasized.


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