Pain in chronic pancreatitis is complex

C. Mel Wilcox


Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive inflammatory disorder of the pancreas most commonly occurring in 40 to 50-year-old men, and is associated with long-standing alcohol abuse (1,2). Prototypical features include recurrent episodes of abdominal pain which often progress to a severe refractory pain, leading to a significant impact on the quality of life, and disability (3-5). Many of these patients require multiple pharmacological, endoscopic, and even surgical treatments for the disabling pain, but with variable efficacy (6). When refractory and severe, a total pancreatectomy, in the hopes of giving a long-standing pain relief, may be the only option; however, it has its own complications (7).