Toxic slimming pills which killed a bulimic student at a Welsh university are still readily available online.
Despite numerous cases of people dying after consuming the drug and repeated warnings not to take the “dangerous” substance it remains easily available online.
The drug accelerates the body’s metabolism which may burn off fat but can also trigger a number of dangerous side effects.
One website offers individual pills for £6.17 as part of a half-price offer and describes the product as a “best seller”.
It openly states that DNP “can kill you” and encourages people not to consume it and only use it for research, chemical and pesticide use.
According to the NHS the drug is a combination of combination of compounds widely used during the early 20th century in a range of industrial processes.
The yellow substance is described as having a “sweet, musty odour”.
Commercial DNP has a range of uses, including as an antiseptic, herbicide, explosives and photographic developing.
In 1933 an American researcher discovered that when taken by humans DNP dramatically speeds up the metabolism leading to rapid weight loss.
After this it was marketed as a weight-loss drug.
It was quickly pulled from the market after it was found to be highly toxic, causing “significant” side effects and in some cases death.
In 1938 the American Food and Drug Agency issued a statement saying DNP was “extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption”.
The NHS said: “It appears that DNP has becoming increasing popular during the last decade among bodybuilders for its ‘quick-fix’ ability to lead to rapid weight loss.
“Presumably this information was spread both by word of mouth as well as via internet forums and message boards.”
A comprehensive description of the product is featured on the website which is marketed under the “fat loss” section.
It reads: “DNP can kill you. We discussed how DNP converts the energy from food into heat energy, which increases body temperature.
“Unfortunately there is no limit to how high your body temperature can get while on DNP, so it can literally ‘cook’ you.”
Warnings on the site where we found the tablets available state that anyone under 18 should “please leave this page”.
The warning at the bottom of their website again states their goods are for research and scientific purposes only.
It reads: “The goods offered by the seller by means of online store are designed for research and scientific purposes only.
“The goods offered by the seller represent chemical substances that must not be used for people or animals, as foodstuff, food additives, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics for people or animals.
“No product offered by the seller can be considered a meal, food additive, drug, nutrient, cosmetics or other substance designed for people or animals.
“No product can be used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.”
The website says it ships from the European Union and deliveries, including to the UK, and is “close to” being successful “100%” of the time.
During the trial of Bernard Rebelo – the online steroid dealer whole sold Eloise the pills which killed her – prosecutor Richard Barraclough QC told Inner London Crown Court that taking the chemical has been described as “playing Russian roulette” and a case of “you might survive, you might not”.
The court heard Rebelo bought the chemical in drums from China and, knowing that it was not suitable for human consumption, took efforts to “deceive” the authorities.
Mr Barraclough said it was “well known in the area in which [Rebelo was] operating that any number of authorities and organisations had warned against the dangers of consuming this chemical”.
Describing DNP, and its effects, Mr Barraclough said it was a “highly toxic substance when ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin”.
He said it caused weight loss by burning fat and carbohydrates, in turn causing energy to be converted into heat.
“The result is that that person’s temperature and metabolic rate all dangerously increase,” Mr Barraclough explained.
Jurors heard that among other things, DNP could cause multiple organ failure, hyperthermia, nausea, coma, muscle rigidity, cardiac arrest and death.
“Essentially, this is what happened to Eloise Parry”, said Mr Barraclough.
The court heard that, depending on body weight, just 200mg of DNP can be lethal and that Ms Parry had taken eight capsules before she died.
In June 31-year-old Rebelo, from Gosport in Hampshire was jailed for seven years after being convicted of two counts of manslaughter and one of placing unsafe food on the market.
He told the jury that he included a warning on his website that the substance was not for human consumption.
Miss Parry’s sister Rebecca Parry said in a statement read out during the trial that she had been “focused” on losing weight.
She noted that in the weeks and months leading up to her death her sister had struggled “more and more” with her eating disorder.
She said: “The diet pills she had taken had made her lose a drastic amount of weight but she still wanted to be slimmer.”
The court heard that in the weeks leading up to her death Eloise was admitted to hospital numerous times because of the side effects of DNP.
The side effects of DNP are widely discussed on various internet forums with people asking for advice and users detailing their experiences.
One wrote that due to the drug causing excessive sweating they had to drink water every 15 minutes and change clothes halfway through a shift.
Another described using it as feeling “hungover 24/7”.
Latest NHS advice says: “One of the risks of DNP is that it accelerates the metabolism to a dangerously fast level.
“Our metabolic system operates at the rate it does for a reason – it is safe.”
Some of the potential side effects they list include fever, dehydration, excessive sweating, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and vomiting.
They add that a combination of the side effects can have an “an extremely damaging effect on the body” and can result in a coma or death.
Long-term use can cause cataracts and skin lesions and may cause damage to the heart and nervous system.
An inquest held in Shrewsbury in July 2015 heard Eloise, who had a history of bulimia, died after taking eight unlicensed tablets which she bought online.
Shropshire coroner John Ellery, who ruled that the death was accidental, said at the time he would be writing to the Government urging a review of the classification of DNP, which is marketed online as a ‘fat burning’ pill.
The hearing was told Miss Parry drove herself to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital hours after taking DNP at her flat.
In a text message sent while she was at the hospital, she apologised to her lecturer and tutors for “being so stupid”.
The message, read to the court by Detective Sergeant Andy Chatting, said: “I screwed up big time. Binged/purged all night and took four pills at 4am.
“I took another four when I woke and I started vomiting soon after. I think I am going to die.”
Eloise used PayPal to buy a quantity of DNP on April 4 and ordered a second batch at 6.14am on the day of her death.
DNP – an industrial chemical historically used in explosives, dyes and fungicide which is also available as a powder – is not a controlled substance despite being linked to several previous deaths in the UK and overseas.
The industrial chemical was the subject of an Interpol warning notice issued to 190 countries in May 2015.
Ruling the death to be accidental, Mr Ellery said: “This is clearly a dangerous, toxic and fatal substance which should not be accessible, certainly not to persons seeking unlicensed non-prescribed medication.”
The UK Government said while possession of DNP for “legitimate, industrial purposes” is allowed it is illegal to sell for human consumption.
UK sellers of DNP can be prosecuted for offences under the Food Safety Act 1990.
Anyone who sees DNP for sale in any form is asked by the Food Standards Agency to to report it to the National Food Crime Unit as soon as possible
Full article: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/toxic-slimming-pills-killed-student-14956866