Popular drugs used as ‘slimming pills’ to be classified as poison after 33 deaths

An ingredient used in popular “slimming pills” and known to have killed at least 33 people in the UK is to be added to a list of regulated poisons by the government.

DNP – or 2,4 Dinitrophenol – is a substance used by people who want to lose weight fast.

The pills are believed to have killed at least 32 people in the UK


The pills are believed to have killed at least 32 people in the UKPhoto credit: Getty

The toxic chemical is legally used as a pesticide and has been banned for human consumption since 2003.

But the pills are currently being marketed and sold across social media and abroad as weight loss aids or “fat burners.”

The Home Office has announced that DNP will be regulated by the Poisons Act 1972 from 1 October 2023.

That means anyone who wants to buy – for legal reasons – needs a license to do so through a registered pharmacist.

The landmark move means those who possess or sell the drug will be prosecuted.

This follows a public consultation initiated by the families of DNP victims.

Bethany Shipsey, from Worcester, died in 2017 at the age of 21 after buying diet pills containing DNP online from a website in Ukraine.

Her father Doug told ITV News he welcomed the Home Office announcement but called for the drug to be banned outright.

How does DNP work?

DNP works by preventing energy from being stored as fat, instead this energy is released from the body as heat.

This increases body temperature, damages organs such as the kidneys and brain, and can lead to seizures, coma, or kidney failure.

And there is no known antidote.

It was originally used in weapons during World War I, until scientists discovered that when ingested it boosts metabolism and burns fat.

But it can lead to increases in temperature and metabolic rate, which can prove fatal.

The drug is used as a photographic chemical, fertilizer, and in the manufacture of dyes and explosives.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough.

“We want a total ban because in the years since we lost Beth we just couldn’t find any legitimate industrial uses, which is why the government has said for all these years that it’s still legal to sell DNP. ”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has also called for a total ban on the chemical to reduce the risk to the public.

“The inclusion of DNP in the Poisons Act is a positive step as it will limit its availability, but what is really needed is a total ban,” said RPS President Claire Anderson.

“We are concerned that DNP is still around and want to see a firm commitment to prosecuting those who profit from it.

“We also urge social media companies to remove content promoting or selling DNP to further reduce the harm,” she added.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7259521/pill-ban-dnp-poison/ Popular drugs used as ‘slimming pills’ to be classified as poison after 33 deaths

Emma James

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