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The dangers of buying diet pills online

Priory consultant psychiatrist Dr James Woolley has issued a warning after a woman died following taking tablets, believed to have been 'diet pills', she bought over the internet.

Eloise Aimee Parry went to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after taking the pills and falling ill, but the 21-year-old died on Sunday April 12, 2015.

Although formal cause of death will be confirmed by the coroner at a later date, West Mercia Police has already alerted people to the dangers of buying substances online.

It was concerned about the origin and sale of such pills, and said it was working with Public Health England to establish where they were bought and how they were advertised.

Approach with caution

Dr Woolley, of Priory Hospital Roehampton, urged the public to be “incredibly careful” when purchasing medicine or supplements over the internet.

He said: “There are some reputable organisations out there but the difficulty is telling which ones they are.

“From a normal pharmacy you can be certain that there are quality checks which guarantee you are actually getting the medication you think you are.

“This isn't always the case over the internet and there have been cases of drugs containing other materials - such as talc or even cement powder - or you are getting a different drug altogether which may cause unexpected side effects.

“Even if the tablets contain the intended drug, you need to use it safely under medical guidance. I have personally seen patients come to considerable harm such as epileptic fits, psychosis like schizophrenia and self-injury, due to overmedicating themselves with supplies of prescription drugs obtained through the internet. Some of these have been due to medication sold online as ‘diet pills’ which it turns out contain types of amphetamines to suppress appetite.”

Eloise's mum, Fiona Parry, said: “As Ella deteriorated, the staff in A&E did all they could to stabilise her. It is such a great sadness that her life ended so soon, and, in many ways, ended before it had really had a chance to begin. There were so many things that she dreamed of doing - travelling, having a career and having a family - things that she never got a chance to experience.

"She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her and it will be all the good memories of her that we will cherish as we go through the difficult weeks and months ahead."

The Food Standards Agency issued a reminder to other people to be careful what they buy online.

The Agency said: "We advise the public not to take any tablets or powders containing DNP, as it is an industrial chemical and not fit for human consumption. It can be extremely dangerous to human health."

The National Poisons Information Unit said DNP "causes high fever" which can be accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat.

People who take it "can get dehydration, nausea and vomiting and then this can progress to confusion and convulsions and liver and kidney failure and within a few hours in some cases it can produce death".

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