Published: February 2009

Ezetimibe and pancreatitis - emerging evidence

Prescriber Update 30(1): 1
February 2009

Prescribers are reminded that medicines are a common, but under recognised, cause of acute pancreatitis. Medicines frequently implicated include anti-HIV agents, statins, tetracyclines, and valproate.

There is emerging evidence that ezetimibe, with or without a statin, can also cause pancreatitis. Reports in the CARM database indicate that there are proportionately more reports of pancreatitis with ezetimibe than with statins.

Prescribers are reminded to consider medication history in patients presenting with acute pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis is typically confirmed by the presence of elevated levels of serum amylase and/ or lipase and characteristic finding by radiological imaging. If acute pancreatitis is confirmed, the suspect medicine should be discontinued and supportive treatment initiated.