Drug Safety

, Volume 31, Issue 10, pp 823–837 | Cite as

Drug-Induced Pancreatitis

Incidence, Management and Prevention
  • Anil R. Balani
  • James H. GrendellEmail author
Review Article


Drugs are a relatively rare cause of acute pancreatitis, with an estimated incidence of 0.1-2%. Many drugs have been suspected of causing pancreatitis, but the true incidence is not known as the evidence is derived mainly from random case reports. Case reports with the strongest evidence are those that clearly diagnose pancreatitis and exclude common aetiologies, provide the dose and time interval between the start of treatment with the suspected drug and the development of pancreatitis, document response to withdrawal of the drug, and demonstrate recurrent pancreatitis upon rechallenge with the drug. Few data exist on the mechanisms of drug-induced pancreatitis. Certain subpopulations such as children, women, the elderly and patients with advanced HIV infection or inflammatory bowel disease may be at higher risk. The diagnosis of drug-induced pancreatitis is often challenging because there are no unique clinical characteristics to distinguish drugs from other causes of pancreatitis. The majority of cases are mild, but severe and even fatal cases may occur, thus making identification of the offending agent critical. Management of drug-induced acute pancreatitis requires withdrawal of the offending agent and supportive care. Prevention of drug-induced pancreatitis requires an up-to-date knowledge of drugs that have the strongest evidence linking their use to the development of pancreatitis as well as the proposed mechanisms through which they may cause the reaction. In this paper, the epidemiology, diagnosis, management and prevention of drug-induced pancreatitis is reviewed. Drugs and classes of drugs strongly implicated as causing acute pancreatitis, based on well documented case reports, are discussed in detail.


Pancreatitis Acute Pancreatitis Valproic Acid Lisinopril Visceral Leishmaniasis 
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© Adis Data Information BV 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastromorphine-enterology, Hepatology, and NutritionWinthrop University HospitalMineolaUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineState University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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