Trypsin

Other Name(s):

Enzyme Protéolytique, Proteinase, Protéinase, Proteolytic Enzyme, Tripsin, Tripsina, Trypsine.

Overview

Trypsin is an enzyme. An enzyme is a protein that speeds up a certain biochemical reaction. Trypsin is found in the small intestine. It can also be made from fungus, plants, and bacteria. But it is usually made for commercial purposes from the pancreas of livestock.

Trypsin is given to people who lack enzymes needed for digestion.

It is also given in combination with bromelain and rutin for treatment of osteoarthritis.

Some people apply trypsin directly to wounds and ulcers to remove dead tissue and improve healing.

There is also a combination prescription spray-on product that is used for healing mouth ulcers. It contains trypsin, Peru balsam, and castor oil.

How does it work?

Trypsin removes dead skin cells (tissue) and allows healthy tissue to grow.

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Osteoarthritis. A combination product that contains trypsin, bromelain, and rutin (Phlogenzym) seems to work about as well as a medication called diclofenac in relieving pain and improving knee function.
  • Wound cleansing and healing. Applying trypsin to the skin seems to help remove dead tissue from wounds and improve healing. A combination spray-on (aerosol) product containing trypsin, Peru balsam, and castor oil is an FDA-approved prescription product.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Improving digestion.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of trypsin for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

QUESTION

What joints are most often affected by osteoarthritis? See Answer

Side Effects

Trypsin seems to be safe when used by healthcare professionals for wound cleaning and healing. It can cause side effects such as pain and burning.

Not enough is known about the safety of trypsin for its other uses.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of trypsin during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For osteoarthritis: two tablets of a combination product (Phlogenzym) which contains 100 mg of rutin, 48 mg of trypsin, and 90 mg of bromelain three times daily.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
  • For wound healing: particular products (Dermuspray, Granulderm, Granulex, and GranuMed) containing trypsin, Peru balsam, and castor oil are FDA-approved prescription products.

SLIDESHOW

Slideshow: Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 6/14/2021
References

Burnham TH, ed. Drug Facts and Comparisons, Updated Monthly. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO.

Hellgren L, Vincent J. Degradation and liquefication effect of streptokinase-streptodornase and stabilised trypsin on tissue necroses, crusts of fibrinoid, purulent exudate and clotted blood from leg ulcers. J Int Med Res 1977;5:334-7. View abstract.

Klein G, Kullich W. Short-term treatment of painful osteoarthritis of the knee with oral enzymes. Clin Drug Invest 2000;19:15-23.

Latha B, Ramakrishnan M, Jayaraman V, Babu M. Serum enzymatic changes modulated using trypsin: chymotrypsin preparation during burn wounds in humans. Burns 1997;23:560-4. View abstract.

Latha B, Ramakrishnan M, Jayaraman V, Babu M. The efficacy of trypsin: chymotrypsin preparation in the reduction of oxidative damage during burn injury. Burns 1998;24:532-8. View abstract.

Spraycar M, ed. Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 26th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1995.

Suomalainen O. Evaluation of two enzyme preparations-Trypure and Varidase in traumatic ulcers. Ann Chir Gynaecol 1983;72:62-5. View abstract.

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