Disclaimer: This happened on April 2015.
Police in Shropshire have issued a warning after the death of a woman who took “diet pills” bought over the internet.
Doctors were unable to save Eloise Aimee Parry, 21, from Shrewsbury, who took the tablets believed to contain the highly toxic industrial chemical dinitrophenol, also known as DNP.
Her mother, Fiona Parry, said her daughter had burned up from the inside and her metabolism “exploded like TNT” after taking the pills.
She said her daughter began feeling unwell at about lunchtime on 12 April and drove herself to Royal Shrewsbury hospital, where she explained to doctors what she had taken. She said there was no great panic because “[Eloise] was still completely lucid and with it. At this point she still seemed to be OK.”
That changed when doctors carried out a toxicology report that revealed “how dire her situation was”. “The drug was in her system, there was no antidote, two tablets was a lethal dose and she had taken eight,” Fiona Parry said in a tribute posted online. “As Eloise deteriorated, the staff in A&E did all they could to stabilize her.
“When her heart stopped they couldn’t revive her. She had crashed. She had taken so much DNP that the consequences were inevitable. They never stood a chance of saving her. She burned and crashed.”
Parry died the same day. Her mother added that that she would be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.
Speaking on Sky News, she said: “Once it’s in your system, there is nothing that will get it out again. Please don’t take this drug. If you’re somebody that makes the mistake that my daughter did, and takes too many of these pills, the doctors won’t be able to get them out of your system. It’s an awful way to die. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
West Mercia police are conducting an investigation into Parry’s death and have issued a warning about buying diet pills online.
Ch Insp Jennifer Mattinson said: “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.
“The coroner’s report will establish the exact cause of Eloise’s death, but we urge the public to be incredibly careful when purchasing medicine or supplements over the internet. Substances from unregistered websites could put your health at risk as they could be extremely harmful, out-of-date or fake.”
DNP was first used in French munition factories during the first world war to make explosives. The chemical became popular among people trying to lose weight, including those with eating disorders and bodybuilders, after clinical trials revealed it can result in the loss of up to 7kg in a week.
It does this by accelerating a person’s metabolism to a “dangerously fast level”, the NHS Choices website explains. Side-effects include skin lesions and cataracts and in some cases people have “literally cooked to death” after taking a fatal dose.
DNP was designated as “extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption” in 1938 and is regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). It is not an illegal substance, because it is used as a pesticide. Websites offer the drug without restriction, sometimes in capsule form, with only a clause stating that they do not take responsibility for how customers administer it.
Eloise Parry’s death is the fifth in the UK to be attributed to DNP, and more than 60 people worldwide have died as a result of taking it. In 2013, Sarah Houston, a 23-year-old student, was found dead in her bedroom after taking DNP. Houston’s parents, both doctors, called for an end to the “morally repugnant” practice of selling the drug in capsule form.
The previous year, Sarmad Alladin, an 18-year-old bodybuilder, died after taking DNP to lose weight, and Sean Cleathero, a 28-year-old father of one, died after taking the drug, which he got from a gym.
The FSA has previously issued advice against consumption of DNP in any form, which it said “can be extremely dangerous to human health”.
Public Health England said it was working with other agencies to raise awareness of DNP among healthcare professionals and the public. “DNP is not licensed as a medicine in the UK and is classified as a hazardous chemical as a result of its toxicity,” it said in a statement. “Adverse health effects are more common after taking high doses but severe adverse effects can occur when the drug is taken in the doses recommended on websites or by suppliers.”
Source: The Guardian