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Online Diet Pill Kills Young Woman

Tim Boyer's picture
Online diet pill risks

It’s one of the unfortunate hazards of the diet supplement industry - pills that offer a new life for dieters that actually take their lives away as reported recently by ABC News about a young woman from the UK who died from diet pills purchased online.


According to BBC News and ABC News, 21-year-old Eloise Parry died on April 12, shortly after she took 8 diet pills to lose weight that she had bought from an as-of-yet unidentified source online. The last moments of her life were described as, "She was literally burning up from within,” as hospital staff attempted to save her life from a drug that has no cure or remedy.

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The active ingredient in the diet pills she ingested is a toxic substance called “dinitrophenol” or “DNP,” that has been used as a black market weight-loss drug for decades according to the news reports. DNP is outlawed for use in the U.S.; however, the sale of weight loss aids such as diet pills that could contain DNP or other harmful drugs remains unregulated and easily available over the internet to an unsuspecting public.

DNP itself is illegal for use in a diet drug or supplement in the United States, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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According to BBC News, "We are undoubtedly concerned over the origin and sale of these pills and are working with partner agencies to establish where they were bought from and how they were advertised," states Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson said in a statement. "We urge the public to be incredibly careful when purchasing medicine or supplements over the Internet."

DNP is reportedly used in smaller doses as a way to increase a person’s metabolic rate. However, in large enough doses it reportedly actually poisons the cellular energy organelles called mitochondria that are necessary for cellular life. Medical reports from past DNP poisonings note that symptoms include extremely high body temperature, rapid heart rate and fast breathing rate, as the user’s metabolism rockets.

Sources report that the DNP concentration in the pills ingested by Ms. Parry would have been fatal even with just two pills.

Unfortunately, even getting to a hospital soon after ingesting diet pills with DNP leaves essentially no hope for the patient. Because there is no cure for this type of drug, only supportive care measures can be given as hospital personnel wait for the eventual demise of the patient.

For more about the dangers of taking diet pills, here is a Consumer Reports warning about how that many diet pills with banned ingredients continue to be sold online.

Reference: ABC News―”Police Investigate Diet Pills Containing DNP in Woman's Death