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Drug-induced pancreatitis (DIP) is a rare problem in medicine. A retrospective study from 45 German centers of gastroenterology concluded that only 22 of 1613 (1.4 percent) cases of acute pancreatitis in 1993 were DIP. Though DIP is a rare etiology of acute pancreatitis compared to other common etiologies like alcohol, gallstones, hypercalcemia, hypertriglyceridemia, infection, trauma or medical procedures like endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), its incidence continues to rise. We report a case of a 21-year-old female with DIP following doxycycline treatment for an upper respiratory infection. A 21-year-old, otherwise healthy female presented with severe abdominal discomfort associated with nausea and vomiting. She was hemodynamically stable with normal vital signs. Physical exam revealed a soft but tender to palpation epigastric area. Peritoneal signs were negative. Urinalysis was negative for acute infection. Urine human chorionic gonadotrophin was negative for pregnancy. Laboratory findings revealed a mildly elevated lipase level at 128 U/L (normal 13-60) but was otherwise normal. A computed tomography of abdomen and pelvis revealed evidence of fat stranding consistent with acute pancreatitis. A right upper quadrant ultrasound ruled out gallstones. A serum triglyceride was within normal limit at 80mg/dl. She denied any alcohol use. On further questioning, the patient admitted to previously being diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection two weeks earlier. She had consequently finished a 10-day course of doxycycline therapy, with her last dose five days before presentation. After a literature review of drugs implicated in DIP and ruling out other causes of acute pancreatitis, we concluded that our patient had doxycycline-induced pancreatitis. Follow-up visit three weeks post discharge revealed complete resolution of previous symptoms. In our vastly evolving pharmacotherapy world, DIP should be entertained as a possible etiology of idiopathic pancreatitis, especially after other common causes have been ruled out.


John Kelly Wachira, Cristina Hill Jensen, Kelly Rhone. Doxycycline-induced pancreatitis: a rare finding. South Dakota medicine : the journal of the South Dakota State Medical Association. 2013 Jun;66(6):227-9

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PMID: 23923680

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