21 Apr 2015

Student dies after online diet pills ‘burn her up’

A young woman has died after taking diet pills bought on the internet. Her mother has issued an emotional warning to others after her death.

Eloise Parry, 21, died on 12 April at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after taking the diet pills bought online that police believe contained the toxic pesticide dinitrophenol, known as DNP.

Her mother Fiona issued an emotional tribute and warning to others, describing medical staff’s efforts to save her as she was “literally burning up from within”.

The student at Glyndwr University initially drove herself to A&E after becoming unwell, shortly after taking eight of the fatal pills. She was concerned but had no idea of the grave danger she was in, her mother said.


“She explained what she had taken and there was no great panic as she was still completely lucid and with it. That all changed when the toxicity report came back and it was clear 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.”

Diet pills containing DNP remain readily available on the internet and are aggressively marketed through numerous weight-loss “blogs” – often linked to suppliers. Double dosing on drugs such as laxatives is often commonly promoted by these blogs, and across the dark online spaces that feed off the weight-loss industry.

DNP is not a miracle slimming pill. It is a deadly toxin. It is similar to TNT in structure. TNT is an explosive. DNP causes your metabolism to run at an explosive level, with potentially fatal consequences. Fiona Parry

DNP works by disrupting energy generation in cells and was first believed to be used on an industrial scale to make explosives in the first world war. Ingested in the body, it breaks down and impairs cellular fat and carbohydrate, but instead of the energy being used by the cells, it is released as heat.

Small doses of it are thought to have been used by the Russian army to help keep soldiers warm in winter, which resulted in weight loss. Those marketing the pesticide claim it can shift up to 7kg a week, without any changes to lifestyle or diet, and there have been several warnings about its popularity with bodybuilders attempting to make rapid weight losses in short periods of time.


Professor Simon Thomas from Public Health England said DNP is a poisonous chemical not fit for human consumption. “DNP is not licensed as a medicine in the UK and is classified as a hazardous chemical as a result of its toxicity. 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.”

Eloise’s mother said the 21-year-old, who was planning to continue her studies to a gain a masters, “burned and crashed” as the effects of the drugs overwhelmed her immune system, causing her major organs to shut down and eventually her heart to stop.

“She was literally burning up from within. When she stopped breathing they (A&E staff) put her on a ventilator and carried on fighting to save her. When her heart stopped they couldn’t revive her. They never stood a chance of saving her. She burned and crashed.”

She said her daughter had no inclination of the danger she had unwittingly put herself in, and issued a warning to others who may be tempted by the false promises advertised online.

Deadly toxin

“DNP is not a miracle slimming pill. It is a deadly toxin. It is similar to TNT in structure. TNT is an explosive. DNP causes your metabolism to run at an explosive level, with potentially fatal consequences.”

Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson said West Mercia Police will be conducting a full investigation into the circumstance of her death and want to speak to anyone who may have information on how the pills were obtained.

“We are undoubtedly concerned over the origin and sale of these pills 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.”