Creon is a type of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) manufactured by AbbVie Inc. to help improve digestion by breaking down fats, starches, and proteins in your food. It can treat conditions where your pancreas does not produce or release enough enzymes such as cystic fibrosis and chronic pancreatitis.
What is Creon used for?
Creon is a combination of porcine-derived lipases, proteases, and amylases that is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency due to cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatectomy, pancreatic cancer, or other medical conditions.
How does Creon work?
Creon releases high levels of lipase, amylase, and protease into the duodenum following activation by its alkaline pH. This facilitates the breakdown of fats into glycerol and free fatty acids, starches into dextrins and sugars, and proteins into amino acids and peptides. The effectiveness of Creon is dependent on several factors such as the dose, your gastrointestinal pH, and the microsphere size of the medication.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Creon?
- Delayed-Release Capsule – 3,000/U of lipase; 9,500/U of protease; and 15,000/U of amylase
- Delayed-Release Capsules: 6,000/Uof lipase; 19,000/U of protease; and 30,000/U of amylase
- Delayed-Release Capsules: 12,000/U of lipase; 38,000/U of protease; and 60,000/U of amylase
- Delayed-Release Capsules: 24,000/U of lipase; 76,000/U of protease; and 120,000/U of amylase
- Delayed-Release Capsules: 36,000/U of lipase; 114,000/U of protease; and 180,000/U of amylase
How to take Creon
- Take Creon exactly as your doctor tells you. Do not take more Creon capsules in a day than prescribed by your doctor (total daily dose). Your doctor may change your dose based on your body weight or the amount of fatty foods you eat.
- You should not switch Creon with other pancreatic enzyme products without talking to your doctor.
- Take Creon with a snack or meal. If you eat a lot of meals or snacks, make sure you don’t go over your total daily dose.
- Do not crush or chew Creon capsules or their contents. Do not hold the capsule or its contents in your mouth. This can irritate your mouth or change how Creon works in your body.
- For infants or patients unable to swallow capsules whole, the contents can be sprinkled on soft acidic foods such as applesauce at room temperature. The mixture should be swallowed immediately without chewing it. Follow with water or juice to be sure there is no Creon left in the mouth.
- If you miss a dose of Creon, the next dose should be taken with your next snack or meal as directed. Do not double your dose or take extra Creon to make up for the missed dose.
- Read the Instructions for Use and Medication Guide that comes with your Creon prescription.
- Store Creon at room temperature between 59°F to 77°F (15°C to 25°C). You may store Creon between 77°F to 104°F (25°C to 40°C) for up to 30 days. Keep Creon in its original container in a dry place. Keep the bottle tightly closed between uses to protect it from moisture.
- Patients with known hypersensitivity to Creon or any of its inactive ingredients.
- High doses of Creon over a long period of time are associated with fibrosing colonopathy (scarring or thickening of your bowel wall) in cystic fibrosis patients. Caution should be taken with doses exceeding 2,500 lipase units/kg of body weight per meal (or greater than 10,000 lipase units/kg of body weight per day).
- To avoid mouth irritation, do not chew Creon or hold it in your mouth.
- Caution should be used when prescribing Creon to patients with gout, kidney disease, or hyperuricemia (increased uric acid levels).
- There is a possible risk of viral transmission with the use of Creon.
- Caution should be taken when giving Creon to a patient with a known allergy to proteins of porcine origin.
- Discuss with your doctor the risks of Creon if you have a history of intestinal blockage.
Creon drug interactions
While no drug interactions of Creon have been identified, you should make sure your doctor is aware of all the medications you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Side effects of Creon
Some common side effects of Creon can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Frequent bowel movements
- Sore throat
- Weight loss
Some serious side effects of Creon include:
- Fibrosing colonopathy (scarring of your colon)
- Increase your uric acid levels
- Viral infection
- Allergic reactions (hives, face swelling, throat tightness, difficulty breathing)
You can report any possible side effects you experience to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
There are other medications to treat heart failure that your healthcare professional can prescribe if Creon is not the right medication for you. Some FDA-approved alternative treatment options include:
- Pancreaze (pancrelipase)
- Viokase (pancrelipase)
- Ultresa (pancrelipase)
- Zenpep (pancrelipase)
- Pertzye (pancrelipase)
Is Creon better than Zenpep (pancrelipase)?
Creon and Zenpep are very similar medications. They both are pancreatic enzymes that are used in the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) and other conditions. Creon is available as enteric-coated microspheres while Zenep contains enteric-coated beads. They both have similar warnings and side effects. There was a study published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis that found that Zenpep was comparable with Creon in effectiveness and safety for the treatment of adolescents and adults with EPI.
There is a cost difference between these 2 brand name medications. Zenpep will cost around $1000 for #100, 25,000 unit capsules. Creon $1,255.61 does have a generic available but it is still more expensive Generic Creon will cost a little under $700 for #90, 24,000 unit capsules. Please note that pancreatic enzyme products are not interchangeable.
Can you take Creon if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Case reports with Creon have not identified a risk of major birth defects, miscarriage, or other adverse maternal or fetal outcomes.
There is no data on whether Creon is found in human or animal breast milk. Since Creon is minimally absorbed into your bloodstream, it is not expected to affect the breastfed infant.
Contact your healthcare provider for medical advice if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What doses of Creon are available?
Creon is a delayed-release capsule taken by mouth that’s available in strengths of:
- 3,000/U of lipase; 9,500/U of protease; and 15,000/U of amylase
- 6,000/Uof lipase; 19,000/U of protease; and 30,000/U of amylase
- 12,000/U of lipase; 38,000/U of protease; and 60,000/U of amylase
- 24,000/U of lipase; 76,000/U of protease; and 120,000/U of amylase
- 36,000/U of lipase; 114,000/U of protease; and 180,000/U of amylase
How do I store Creon?
Creon should be stored at room temperature between 59°F to 77°F (15°C to 25°C). You may store Creon between 77°F to 104°F (25°C to 40°C) for up to 30 days. Keep Creon in its original container in a dry place. Keep the bottle tightly closed between uses to protect it from moisture.
Is there a generic for Creon?
There is no generic available for Creon. You can save money taking brand-name Creon with the help of NiceRx.