This year during Haemochromatosis Awareness Week in August we worked with the Pharmacy Guild and Pharmaceutical Society Australia to raise awareness among pharmacy staff of haemochromatosis and the potential for iron overload from this common genetic condition. The momentum has been maintained in September with the publication of articles about haemochromatosis in the two leading Australian pharmacy industry journals.

Pharmacy staff need to be aware of  haemochromatosis because someone experiencing the common early symptoms of iron overload such as fatigue and joint pain may initially ask about them with their pharmacists and front-line pharmacy staff rather than their GP. As the early symptoms of iron overload are similar to the symptoms of iron deficiency, it is important that iron supplements are not recommended unless a GP has confirmed iron deficiency.

The Australian Pharmacist, the journal of the Pharmaceutical Society Australia published an article by Professor Greg Peterson Haemochromatosis: Not all joint pain is arthritis in their September edition. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia published in Australian Journal of Pharmacy the article Primary care: Building understanding of chronic conditions among your pharmacy staff: The haemochromatosis example by academic and pharmacist Kevin de Vries.

Publication of educational and informative articles like these in pharmacy journals is a great way to raise the profile and awareness of haemochromatosis in the industry and ultimately help in our quest to increase the rate of early detection and treatment. We thank PSA and the Guild for their ongoing support.

Image of a pharmacy intern at a service counter at a pharmacy displaying nformation about haemochromatosis.

Pharmacies can help raise awareness of haemochromatosis.