Interpol calls diet pills a threat after 21-year-old dies
Interpol has issued a global alert over an illicit and potentially deadly drug, which is used as a dieting and body-building aid, that killed a woman last month.
The international policing body issued the notice about the drug, 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP), after a woman, Miss Eloise Parry, died in the UK in April after taking the substance she had bought online. The Daily Mail reported that the drug has claimed the deaths of six young Britons since 2008.
Her mother, Fiona, said: "She had taken even more of these 'slimming tablets' than recommended on the pack and had no idea just how dangerous they really were.
"She never intended to take her own life. She just never really understood how dangerous the tablets that she took were. Most of us don't believe that a slimming tablet could possibly kill us," she said.
Miss Parry consumed eight of the pills last month.
A French man has also been left seriously ill after consuming the drug while an Australian had seizures after using it.
An Orange Notice warning about DNP has been issued - indicating that it is an imminent threat.
In the past two years, orange notices have largely been issued for prison escapees in Bolivia as well as after the Boston Marathon bombing. It is rarely used to warn about substances, especially not dietary pills.
DNP is usually sold in yellow powder or capsule form although it is also available as a cream. Ironically, it is used also as the base material for the composition of certain explosives.
Interpol also said that some DNP distributors have taken advantage of the product's resemblance with turmeric powder to claim that these capsules contained turmeric.
In at least one case, DNP could be ordered from a website and sent to the consumer. The information printed on the bos was: "Health and beauty tumeric capsules Extra strength 125 mg each capsule. Contains 125 mg of tumeric powder. Do not use if the seal is broken."
Furthermore, the risks associated with the use of the drug is magnified by illegal manufacturing conditions.
The drug was used in the 1930s for boosting metabolism and encouraging weight loss, but was taken out of circulation because of "numerous" deaths, the Interpol statement said.
"In the 1980s, medical teams attempted to reintroduce DNP as a nutritional supplement. However, it was once again withdrawn following the death of a patient, and the doctor responsible was convicted."
The World Anti-Doping Agency Director General David Howman said: "We are appreciative that Interpol has issued the global warning on DNP. This is a perfect example of how crucial it is that law enforcement and anti-doping organisations continue to forge closer ties so that dangerous and potentially fatal, substances such as DNP do not reach the hands of athletes."
According to the UK's National Health Service, those taking the pills could see the following side effects:
5) Flushed skin
6) Excessive sweating
9) Rapid breathing
10) Rapid or irregular heartbeat
The combination of these side effects can result in a coma, and death.
Long-term use of the drugs have also reportedly caused the development of cataracts and skin lesions - and may cause damage to the heart and nervous system.