Creon (pancrealipase) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Creon comes as a delayed-release oral capsule. It’s usually taken with each meal.

Creon is used to treat EPI in children and adults caused by:

The active ingredients in Creon consist of three types of enzymes (proteins) called pancrealipase. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Creon contains the following enzymes:

  • amylases (break down carbohydrates and starch)
  • lipases (break down fats)
  • proteases (break down proteins)

This article describes the dosages of Creon, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Creon, see this in-depth article.

The below information provides typical dosages of Creon.

What is the form of Creon?

Creon comes as a delayed-release oral capsule. Each capsule contains enteric coated spheres. Enteric coating prevents the active ingredient from being broken down by stomach acid. The contents are released in the small intestine.

What strengths does Creon come in?

Creon is available in several strengths. Each capsule contains a mix of three pancreatic enzymes. The drug is available in the following strengths:

Lipase unitsProtease unitsAmylase units
Creon 3,0003,0009,50015,000
Creon 6,0006,00019,00030,000
Creon 12,00012,00038,00060,000
Creon 24,00024,00076,000120,000
Creon 36,00036,000114,000180,000

Your doctor will typically write the Creon dosage in lipase units as either the whole number or an abbreviated version. For example, they may write: 3,000 lipase units or 3k lipase units.

What are the usual dosages of Creon?

Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage of Creon and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

Creon dosages are typically calculated based on the amount of lipase units needed. (Lipase helps break down fats during digestion.) Your daily dosage of Creon can depend on:

  • the condition being treated
  • your age
  • body weight
  • diet, including the amount of fat content
  • your symptoms
  • side effects you may be experiencing

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency for adults

The starting dosage of Creon in adults with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is based on your body weight, diet, and how you respond to Creon.

Dosage in adults for EPI caused by cystic fibrosis

Your dosage for EPI from cystic fibrosis is based on recommendations from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Your dosage of Creon is calculated* by your doctor based on you consuming three meals and two or three snacks per day.

For this condition, Creon’s starting dose is typically 500 lipase units per kilogram (kg)† of body weight with each full meal.

Your doctor may increase you to a maximum dose of 2,500 lipase units per kg with each full meal or less than or equal to 10,000 lipase units per kg per day. The maximum dosage of Creon based on fat consumption is less than 4,000 lipase units per gram of fat consumed per day.

* For more information about how Creon’s dosages are calculated, see “Is there a recommended dose calculator for Creon?” in the “Frequently asked questions” section below.
† One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage in adults for EPI caused by pancreatitis, pancreatectomy, or other conditions

For EPI caused by pancreatitis or pancreatectomy, or other conditions affecting your pancreas, your dosage of Creon is based on:

  • the severity of your condition
  • the fat content of your diet
  • steatorrhea (fat content in stools)

For example, if you consume at least 100 grams of fat per day, your dose of Creon would be 72,000 lipase units per meal. The Creon dosage for snacks is usually half the dosage of a full meal.

Your dosage may also be based on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation starting dosage of 500 lipase units per kg of body weight per full meal.

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dose and increase your dose if necessary. This is based on how you do with Creon treatment. Talk with your doctor for more information about your Creon dosage.

What’s the dosage of Creon for children?

Creon is approved to treat EPI in infants and children. The drug’s dosage in children is based on age and body weight in kilograms (kg). One kg is equal to about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Dosage for birth to children under age 12 months

The dosage for infants and children under age 12 months is 3,000 lipase units per breastfeeding session, or for every 120 milliliters (ml) of formula consumed. You do not want to mix Creon directly into breastmilk or formula.

Dosage for children ages 12 months to 4 years

For this age range, the dosage of Creon is 1,000 lipase units per kg of body weight per meal.

The maximum dosage is 2,500 lipase units per kg of body weight per day or less than or equal to 10,000 lipase units per kg per day. The maximum dosage based on fat consumed per day is less than 4,000 lipase units per gram (g) of fat consumed per day.

Dosage for children ages 4 years and older

The dosage for children 4 years and older is the same as adults. See the “Dosage for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency for adults” section above for details.

Is Creon used long term?

Yes, Creon is usually used as a long-term treatment. Since your pancreas either doesn’t make or release enough digestive enzymes, you’ll need to take Creon to help your body digest foods.

If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Creon’s dosage.

Can food affect my Creon dosage? Are there certain foods to avoid when taking Creon?

Yes, food can affect your Creon dosage. Your doctor will calculate your Creon dosage based on you eating three meals and two or three snacks per day. The amount of fat you consume daily also helps determine your dosage.

Do not skip meals or take Creon without food. This can increase your risk of side effects. (See this article for more information on Creon’s side effects.)

You don’t need to necessarily avoid certain foods while taking Creon. However, if your diet changes after your dosage was calculated, this could affect how Creon works in your body.

For example, if you eat more high fat foods, this can cause problems with your digestion or oily stools. This is because Creon becomes less effective, and your body can’t break down the excess fats you eat.

It’s important to stay with the dietary regimen recommended by your doctor to help avoid problems while taking Creon. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your diet and your Creon dosage.

Is there a recommended dose calculator for Creon?

Yes. Your dosage of Creon is calculated based on:

  • your age
  • body weight
  • condition severity
  • type of meals you consume, including fat content

Your doctor will calculate your Creon dosage for you. They’ll likely start you on a low dosage and gradually increase your dose if necessary. They’ll also discuss your diet and how it can affect your Creon dosage.

For more information on Creon dosing, see “What is Creon’s dosage” section above. You can also check out the drug’s medication guide.

If you have questions about your Creon dose, talk with your doctor.

The dosage of Creon you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
  • your age
  • body weight
  • side effects you may have

Creon comes as a delayed-release capsule that you swallow.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Creon, see this article.

For children ages 1 year and older and adults

Swallow Creon capsules whole with enough liquid to wash it down. Do not keep Creon in your mouth too long. This can irritate your mouth or tongue.

Do not crush or chew Creon. This can affect how Creon works in your body.

Always take Creon with a meal or snack. The drug helps break down foods you eat so you can digest them. Taking Creon on an empty stomach can increase your risk of side effects.

If you or your child has trouble swallowing capsules, sprinkle the contents of the drug into a small amount of applesauce or another soft acidic food. Swallow the whole amount of food without chewing. Wash it down with water or another liquid. Do not save food with Creon to eat later.

To learn more about how to take Creon, see the drug’s medication guide.

For infants and children up to 12 months

For infants and children up to age 12 months, give Creon right before breastfeeding or formula feeding. Do not mix Creon into breast milk or formula directly.

You can either place the Creon sprinkles directly into your child’s mouth or place them in a small amount of acidic food, such as applesauce, as directed by their doctor.

Make sure to give your child sufficient liquid to wash down all the Creon sprinkles. Check their mouth to be certain all the medication has been swallowed.

You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for instructions on the best way to give your infant their Creon dosage.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you miss taking your regularly scheduled dose of Creon, skip the missed dose. Then continue with your normal dosing schedule. Do not take two doses of Creon at one time. This can increase your risk of side effects.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Creon on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not take Creon on an empty stomach. This can increase your risk of side effects.

Do not take more Creon than your doctor prescribes as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by taking too much Creon may include:

What to do in case you take too much Creon

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Creon. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Creon for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Creon without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Creon exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Is my dosage for Creon based on my weight?
  • Does my diet affect my Creon dosage?
  • Would my dosage need to change if Creon isn’t working for me?

To learn more about Creon, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.