UKCPA: Identifying anaemia

Learning

UKCPA: Identifying anaemia

In Learning

Pharmacist are well placed to identify the signs and symptoms of anaemia and advise on treatment, says Elena Gwyn Jones, lead pre-operative pharmacist, Ysbyty Gwynedd Bangor hospital in North Wales

As a pre-op pharmacist I often come across anaemia, which means it is prevalent in the community at large. So how can community pharmacists help to identify and treat this common condition?

Who is most at risk?

Patients/conditions where there is a higher risk of irondeficiency anaemia (IDA) include:

  • Black women
  • Pregnancy
  • Menorrhagia
  • Vegan diets
  • Coeliac disease
  • NSAID use
  • Gastrectomy.

Signs and symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Shortness of breath with exercise
  • Restless legs
  • Headaches
  • Pallor.

Red flags

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Significant change in bowel habit.

Treatment

The aim should be to replenish iron stores and restore haemoglobin concentrations. Cause should be investigated and treated if possible.

Dietary advice

Meat, pulses, green leafy vegetables, cereal and fortified breads may increase a patient’s absorption of iron.

Oral iron

The oral dose of elemental iron for iron-deficiency anaemia should be 100mg-200mg daily. There is little difference in the iron uptake efficiency of different iron salts.

Modified release tablets are not recommended as they don’t improve the absorption of iron. These preparations release iron gradually with the aim of reducing GI side-effects but the lower incidence of side-effects may reflect the small amounts of iron available for absorption as the iron is carried past the first part of the duodenum into an area of the gut where absorption may be poor.

Practical points:

  • Take on an empty stomach
  • Avoid simultaneous ingestion with coffee and tea
  • Avoid simultaneous administration of other medications/antacids
  • Ascorbic acid 250mg-500mg with the iron supplement may enhance absorption
  • For nausea/epigastric discomfort, a preparation with a lower iron content may be appropriate.

Parenteral iron

This is reserved for those who are intolerant or not responding to oral iron, or if the patient has impaired GI absorption, or major surgery is in less than four weeks.

Although the drug cost is higher, the patient outcome is improved and the long-term cost of replenished iron stores is thought to be lower than not treating.

This column is produced in association with the UKCPA. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of either Pharmacy Magazine or the UKCPA. For more information about the UKCPA visit their website.

Record my learning outcomes

Learning

Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of wellbeing

Share:

More like this

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

Scenario: Kidney dialysis

Pharmacist Paeveen on the options available when a patient waith kidney disease love to travel

2 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

Applications open for foundation pharmacist training

CPPE has opened applications for the newest intake of pharmacists on its foundation pharmacist training pathway. Limited places are available.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

CPPE: New places on Leading for Change programme

The programme aims to help experienced pharmacy professionals reflect on and develop their leadership style.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

UKCPA viewpoint: Tofacitinib raises risk of PE

There is an increased risk of pulmonary embolism in patients receiving tofacitinib 10mg twice daily.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

CPPE: New e-learning on atrial fibrillation

AF has been identified as a condition where opportunistic screening could be beneficial. Community pharmacy is well placed to support this screening.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Learning

CPPE: Tech programme is now national

CPPE’s accuracy checking pharmacy technician programme is now available to all pharmacy technicians.

1 Min Article

Recommended Learning

Sponsored education

Acute diarrhoea: effective symptom management

This module busts the myths surrounding diarrhoea treatments and explores the products available OTC so you can recommend the right treatment.

10 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Indigestion update

Update your knowledge on indigestion with this short video and discover a new dual-action product you can recommend.

3 Min Module

Sponsored education

Supporting women in their contraceptive choices

Upgrade your contraceptive consultations by exploring the interactive pack to learn about a daily oral contraceptive pill

8 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Advising on thrush treatment

This video looks at the distinctive benefits of different combination products and how to find the right treatment option for your customer.

7 Min Module

bookmark_icon_off
Sponsored education

Abdominal discomfort: Multi-symptom relief with Buscomint

Discover the key benefits of a product that offers multi-symptom relief from abdominal pain, cramps and bloating, plus lifestyle advice to help manage symptoms.

5 Min Module

Sponsored education

Advising on very dry and eczema-prone skin

This video will guide you through a consultation with Michelle, a customer with very dry skin, and help you recommend suitable products to help

2 Min Module