Lifelines Online Summer 2000

Faculty Workshop

 Author Pat Schneider
 Case Study
Deadly Diet Pills


Dinitrophenol (2, 4-DPN), a yellow food dye, was once routinely added to commercial baked goods to make them appear "egg rich". In 1933, this manufactured chemical was introduced as a treatment for obesity. DPN helped patients loose weight by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation. This proved to be very dangerous; many users suffered injury and death due to elevated body temperature. Over one hundred thousand people took these "anti-fat medicines" before they were abandoned in 1937.

DPN was used as a herbicide and insecticide until it was banned by the US EPA in the early 1990's.


What do you want to know about DPN?

Getting Started 

Case will be introduced at beginning of the cellular respiration unit (3 lectures).

Work in groups to identify on a worksheet

What the case is about

What they know

What they need to know

Problem Solving 

Identify key questions and investigate answers


Text book

Lecture notes

1933 JAMA article

Websites (advocates illegal use)


Written answers supported with drawings

Assessment and Evaluation 

Questions will appear on the unit exam