26 June 2015

‘Fat burning’ diet pill kills man

A man has died after consuming 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP) more than a month after Interpol issued a worldwide notice warning countries about the highly toxic substance.


DNP is illegal in many countries but it is popular among people wanting to lose weight and those with eating disorders. Bodybuilders also use it to reduce their body fat percentage.

Deadly substance

This "fat burning" substance found in tablets, capsules, powders and liquids is very dangerous.

Read: SA warned about deadly DNP weight-loss drug

A 24-year-old Irish man is the latest to fall victim to this deadly substance, according to The Irish Examiner.

According to Dublin’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) preliminary findings of a probe show that the man consumed DNP.

“These investigations are on-going, and we strongly urge members of the public to never use the internet to source slimming products or any prescription medicines at any time – no amount of these products is safe to take,” said HPRA chief executive officer Pat O’Mahony.

He added that laboratory analysis of products detained in the past has shown that medicines bought online may contain harmful substances.

Read: Lose weight without taking toxic diet pills

In April, DNP claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman in England and last year left a man in France in a serious condition.

Warning to the public

Interpol issued an urgent worldwide notice to law enforcement in all 190 member countries, of which South Africa is one, after a sample of the drug was tested at a World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory.

The Medicines Control Council (MCC) told Health24 at the time that it was not aware of the presence of any diet pills in South Africa containing DNP and at the same time warned the public against purchasing any medical products online.

DNP is dangerous because the mechanism by which it helps to facilitate weight loss is also the mechanism by which it causes toxicity.

"DNP is biologically highly active by preventing the conversion of adenosine diphosphate to adenosine triphosphate in cells," Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, director at the Griffon Poison Information Centre, told Health24.

"This results is that instead of generating energy, the process generates body heat and thus burning fat. The generation of heat may easily get out of control with resultant hyperthermia and even potential death. This is a very real danger."

According to the Food Standards Agency (FDA) in the UK, DNP is also known as Dinosan, Dnoc, Solfo Black, Nitrophen, Aldifen and Chemox.

Also read:

How to spot dangerous or fake diet pills

Duromine diet pill sees surge in popularity

Migraine drug may up risk of eating disorders in teens


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