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Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 415619, 4 pages
Case Report

Asymptomatic and Persistent Elevation of Pancreatic Enzymes in an Ulcerative Colitis Patient

Department of Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Sant’Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti 9, 40138 Bologna, Italy

Received 24 March 2013; Accepted 29 April 2013

Academic Editors: N. Courcoutsakis, M. Iizuka, and J. Theisen

Copyright © 2013 Elisa Liverani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Azathioprine has been extensively used in the management of inflammatory bowel diseases. It might cause pancreatic damage in the form of either asymptomatic elevation in serum amylase/lipase or overt acute pancreatitis. Here we report the case of a 61-year-old patient with ulcerative colitis who had been treated with azathioprine for three years, achieving clinical remission. During treatment he presented an asymptomatic elevation of serum pancreatic enzymes, without any signs of pancreatitis at imaging. This evidence brought us to reassess the drug dosage, without achieving a normalization of biochemical analysis. Autoimmune pancreatitis was excluded. One year after the suspension of azathioprine, we still face persistent high levels of amylase/lipase. Normalization of enzymatic values in patients who develop intolerance to azathioprine, in the form of either asymptomatic elevation in serum amylase/lipase or overt acute pancreatitis, is usually achieved in about two months after stopping drug intake. Asymptomatic elevation in serum pancreatic enzymes in the absence of pancreatic disease is reported in the literature and defined as “Gullo’s syndrome,” but nobody of the subjects studied had been treated in the past with pancreatotoxic drugs. Might this case be defined as “benign pancreatic hyperenzymemia”?