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World Anti-Doping Agency urges athletes to avoid dangerous diet pills

7 May 2015

Athletes are being warned about a dangerous substance found in slimming tablets which is the subject of an alert by Interpol. 

The international police organisation has issued a global alert for 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), a potentially lethal drug which is used as a dieting and body-building aid.

The warning about DNP was published after a woman died in the UK and a French man became seriously ill after taking the substance.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) supplied Interpol with information about the substance after a WADA-accredited laboratory received a sample of the drug following a seizure in Australia.

DNP is usually sold in yellow powder or capsule form, but is also available as a cream. It is often produced in clandestine laboratories with no hygiene regulation.  

In the 1930s DNP was used to boost metabolism and encourage weight loss, but it was taken out of circulation after several deaths.

WADA director general, David Howman, urges athletes to steer clear of the product at any cost. 

“This substance is not only included as a non-approved substance on the WADA Prohibited List but is also quite clearly dangerous, and is not approved by any government regulatory health authority for human therapeutic use.  No athlete should even contemplate taking such a high-risk, illegal substance that can have fatal consequences,” he says. 

“We appreciate Interpol issuing this global warning on DNP. This is a perfect example of law enforcement and anti-doping organisations forging closer ties so that dangerous, and potentially fatal, substances such as DNP do not reach the hands of athletes,” he adds. 

Interpol’s anti-doping unit deals with both high-level athletes involved in doping and the production and supply of banned performance enhancing drugs on the black market.