Context and Objectives Many prescription drugs have acute pancreatitis as a reported side effect. In a clinical situation, however, it is difficult to identify a specific drug as a causative factor for acute pancreatitis.
Design The study employed a case–control approach to investigate the role of prescription drugs with acute pancreatitis as a documented side effect (PDPS) as a cause of acute pancreatitis or pancreatic necrosis.
Patients The use of PDPS in 1107 consecutive patients admitted with acute pancreatitis were compared with the use of PDPS in a control group consisting of 1107 sex- and age-matched patients admitted with acute abdominal emergencies other than acute pancreatitis.
Results In total, 87 different PDPS were recorded: 76 in patients with acute pancreatitis, and 57 in patients with acute abdominal emergencies other than pancretitis. A significantly higher number of patients admitted with acute pancreatitis (419/37.9%) used PDPS compared to patients with other acute abdominal emergencies (373/33.7%) (p=0.041). Of the 214 patients who used more than one PDPS, there were more with acute pancreatitis (125/11.3%) than in patients with other abdominal emergencies (89/8.0%), but the difference was not significant (p=0.774). There was no association between the use of PDPS and development of pancreatic necrosis in patients with acute pancreatitis.
Conclusion There was a higher frequency of use of PDPS in patients admitted with acute pancreatitis than in patients admitted with other acute abdominal conditions. Drugs may thus contribute to the development of acute pancreatitis, but identification of a specific drug as the definitive cause is still challenging. There was no association between the use of PDPS and the development of pancreatic necrosis.