Pharmaceutical Development for Treating Pancreatic Diseases

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The efficacy of medications to treat pancreatic diseases, even when proven effective by experimental studies, are difficult to prove by controlled clinical trials. In the treatment of acute pancreatitis, prophylactic antibiotics, somatostatin, protease inhibitors, and cholecystokinin (CCK)-receptor antagonists are advocated for use in the early stages of acute pancreatitis, but the data are insufficient to mandate prophylaxis use or recommend their use as a standard of care. In the treatment of chronic pancreatitis, digestive enzymes, oral active protease inhibitors, CCK-receptor antagonists, or somatostatin are administered for pain relief. Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy and oral dissolution therapy with trimethadione are used to treat pancreatic stones. The goals of treatment of acute pancreatitis should be to ameliorate the severity of pancreatic inflammation or to prevent its complications. Although several treatments seem to be promising from the studies reviewed, these medications require prospective comparison with the standard procedures and long-term evaluation.

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