Iron deficiency -

Iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency with a significant global impact. Iron deficiency anaemia affects approximately 20% of the world’s population. Individuals of all ages may experience iron deficiency, with certain groups, such as children, premenopausal women, older people, vegetarians (particularly vegans), and vulnerable populations like Indigenous Australians, being more susceptible.

Pharmacists play a vital role in recognising the signs and symptoms of iron deficiency in patients at risk, referring patients for diagnosis, and providing information to patients about their recommended treatment. They also provide guidance on appropriate iron supplementation, educate patients on the importance of medication adherence, and monitor for potential side effects or drug interactions. 

Pharmacists also facilitate referrals to healthcare providers for further evaluation when necessary, ensuring that individuals receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs. They also play an important role in reminding patients on dietary modifications to enhance dietary iron intake once their iron deficiency is corrected, which is instrumental in the primary and secondary prevention of further relapse.

This course describes the causes of iron deficiency, discusses the purpose and impact of the available treatments and provides counselling points for pharmacists.