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2,4 dinitrophenol: it’s not just for men

Germain, J, Leavey, C, Van Hout, MC and McVeigh, J (2020) 2,4 dinitrophenol: it’s not just for men. International Journal of Drug Policy. ISSN 0955-3959

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Background 2,4 dinitrophenol (DNP) is an organic compound which causes thermogenesis resulting in fat burning and weight loss. Although not licensed for human consumption, the globalised access to and information about this compound on the internet has prompted a renewed interest in DNP making it readily available to purchase online. Studies into user experiences remain scarce and much of the previous literature has focused on DNP use in male dominated bodybuilding communities. While online accounts of female DNP use are plentiful, this group are under researched. Method Ten online forums containing female discussion of DNP were identified and 440 threads subjected to a thematic analysis. Semi structured interviews were conducted with four forum moderators (all men) and one woman who reported use of DNP. Results The findings highlighted diverse motivations for why women use DNP as well as differences in experiences, dosing regimens, willingness to take risks and adverse effects. Many women reported using online forums to seek advice and trusted the information they received. However, much of the discussion and protocols for use online is perpetuated by and geared towards men, with DNP seen as a ‘hard core’ drug that is not suitable for women. Female DNP use was frequently stigmatised because the potential risks were seen to be at odds with women’s roles as mothers and caregivers. Women who used DNP were often ignored, ridiculed or seen as novice users, while men were viewed as the DNP experts. Conclusion This study provides an overview of female experiences of DNP use. There is a growing body of evidence as to the harms associated with this compound and there are no guaranteed ‘safe’ regimens that can be advocated for any potential user. Users equate deaths or ill harms from DNP with incorrect dosing or insufficient knowledge of the impact of the drug on the body. This leads women to incorrectly assume that if they are not suffering ill effects they are using DNP safely. Of key concern from this study is that within a vacuum of harm reduction advice, women are reported to be accepting DNP advice circulating in male-dominated forums and adopting the protocols of male bodybuilders with potentially fatal consequences. Furthermore, women using DNP are doing so without any ‘real world’ support, gender sensitive treatment pathways or interventions in place.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences, 16 Studies in Human Society, 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2020 12:23
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2021 00:50
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13782
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