Deadly diet drug can kill – FSA warns against ‘dietary products’ containing DNP

 In Awareness Campaigns, eating disorders

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a publicity campaign to warn consumers about the health risks of using dietary products commonly known as ‘fat burners’ which are mainly obtained via the internet. In particular, some products contain an ingredient known as DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol) which is an industrial chemical used in pesticides, fertilisers, dyes and explosives. It is unfit for human consumption but sold illegally via the internet for weight loss. It acts as a ‘fat burner’ by increasing the body’s metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, but this can reach dangerous levels and has contributed to a significant number of deaths, as well as instances of serious harm to health.

Signs of acute poisoning by DNP include high temperature, dehydration, vomiting, flushed skin, sweating, dizziness, headaches, rapid breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat. However, there isn’t a specific treatment that is effective and patients may die within hours, despite best medical care. Long-term use can lead to cataracts, and cardiac and neurological damage.

Despite its dangers, DNP has gained in popularity amongst the fitness and bodybuilding communities. It has also been used by people with eating disorders or who have body image concerns.

Unfortunately, products containing DNP are available via the internet so it is important to raise awareness about its dangers, and warn all consumers that obtaining any medicine from the internet is risky.

For more information, please see the Royal Pharmaceutical Society press release.

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