Symptoms of autoimmune pancreatitis often improve after a short course of corticosteroids. Many people respond quickly, even dramatically. Some people get better without any treatment. However, about 30 to 40 percent of the time, the disease returns (relapses), requiring additional treatment, sometimes long term. To help reduce the serious side effects associated with extended corticosteroid use, Mayo Clinic doctors add steroid-sparing medications to the treatment regimen. These drugs allow you to stop steroids altogether.
Autoimmune pancreatitis can be associated with other organ involvement, including enlarged lymph nodes and salivary glands, scarring of the bile ducts, liver inflammation, and kidney disease. Although these manifestations may diminish or disappear completely with steroid therapy, your treatment team will continue to monitor you for recurring problems. Other Mayo specialists are available to help manage these problems.