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New FIP guide outlines pharmacists’ role in managing iron deficiency anaemia

Guidance for pharmacists across all sectors to support the prevention and management of iron deficiency anaemia has been published by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP).

Its new handbook, ‘Iron deficiency anaemia: Managing symptoms and supporting self-care’, provides a comprehensive guide for pharmacists to manage iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) effectively and patient education.

It aims to equip pharmacists with information on treatment options, holistic approaches including the need for iron-rich diets and physical activity, screening and preventive measures.

It also provides the knowledge needed to offer advice to more vulnerable populations, such as children, non-pregnant women of reproductive age, pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, elderly people with chronic diseases, and patients with chronic blood loss.

‘IDA, which affects 1.2 billion individuals worldwide, is preventable and treatable, highlighting the importance of early detection,’ the handbook states.

‘Pharmacists, as accessible healthcare providers, bear a critical responsibility to educate patients, tailored to factors like age, sex, underlying conditions and the causes of IDA, encompassing self-care interventions and various management approaches,’ the handbook adds.

It suggests that in a hospital setting, pharmacists can optimise patient outcomes by monitoring and adjusting pharmaceutical care programmes and providing comprehensive patient counselling for those with IDA.

Collaborating with fellow healthcare professionals, influencing drug formulary choices, promoting adherence to guidelines and reducing costs tied to specific medicines are also outlined as important factors.

The handbook additionally describes IDA roles for pharmacists in community pharmacies and research.

Commenting on the handbook’s publication, FIP CEO Catherine Duggan said: ‘With the increasing role of pharmacists in the healthcare system, pharmacists can play a vital role in providing health information on the prevention and management of iron deficiency anaemia. It is, therefore, a pleasure to present this comprehensive handbook for pharmacists to serve as a guiding resource.

‘This handbook was developed in response to the recommendations from a FIP roundtable report in 2022, which highlighted the increasing opportunity for pharmacists to contribute to achieving the World Health Organization’s target of reducing anaemia by 50% among women of reproductive age by 2025.’

Alongside reading the handbook, FIP recommends pharmacists undertake further professional programmes designed to enhance competence in managing IDA, such as workshops, self-directed learning opportunities, or continuing professional development courses.

It also champions collaboration with national professional leadership bodies to facilitate this learning and the sharing of best practices.

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