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July 8, 1968

Oral and Intravenous Administration of Alcohol and the Pancreas

Author Affiliations

Burlingame, Calif

JAMA. 1968;205(2):116. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140280070027

To the Editor:—  Of the clinical varieties of chronic pancreatitis, that associated with alcoholism presents the most difficult problem in therapy. From the reported work one cannot conclude whether the alcohol exerts its effect by direct action on the duodenal mucosa or whether it acts by absorption into the blood stream and secondarily involves the pancreas. Lowenfels et al1 demonstrated an increase in both the volume and amylase content of the pancreatic fluid after the intravenous injection of alcohol. Gizelt2 believed the action of alcohol to be the summation of direct stimulation of the gland by the absorbed drug, direct stimulation of secretin in the duodenum, and an indirect stimulation of secretin secondary to alcohol induced acid production in the stomach. Dreiling et al3 demonstrated that intravenous administration of alcohol neither stimulated the pancreas nor had a deleterious effect on patients with or without pancreatitis. Brooks and