Coroner to notify medical body over diet pills
A CORONER is to notify the Irish Medicines Board following the death of a young woman who took diet pills. Johanna Janatuinen, a 30-year-old Finnish woman living at Blackrock Place, Mahon, Cork, died of heart failure on February 6th last.
Though an inquest found no direct link between her death and the pills, coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she would notify the medicines board because the information may contribute to a future body of evidence.
Ms Janatuinen, a telesales worker, was sensitive about her weight and had been taking slimming pills for about a month before her death, Cork City Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.
She shared an apartment with her boyfriend, Warren Jones, who said he didn’t know if she had lost weight since taking the diet pills.
As a couple, the pair liked to drink, and Miss Janatuinen could drink up to three bottles of wine on a night out, Mr Jones said.
“She’d gained some weight during our relationship but she never told me how much she weighed,” he said. She smoked cigarettes at weekends only.
On the night before her death, Miss Janatuinen complained of neck pain, having strained her neck performing acrobatics at a staff party two nights previously.
“She was trained in theatre,” Mr Jones said. She also had a headache but the couple felt this was the result of drinking two bottles of wine the previous night. They retired to sleep in their separate bedrooms, because they both worked odd hours.
On February 6th last, Mr Jones got a call from his girlfiend’s boss to say she was not at work. He checked her bedroom to find Ms Janatuinen lying on her right side, and noticed she was blue. “The room felt like a fridge,” he said.
In her autopsy report, Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said the woman had a body mass index of 40.9 – she was morbidly obese. She had died of acute cardiac failure due to an enlarged heart with her raised BMI as a contributory factor.
“Obesity is a huge problem in the western world now and it’s growing,” Dr Bolster said, adding that chronic use of alcohol takes its toll on the heart.
Though she found no direct link between the diet pills and the woman’s death, Dr Bolster said she had found recent evidence linking CLA 24/7, the pills in question, to hepatitis. She said that although there was evidence the diet pills reduced obesity in animals, there was no proof they worked in humans.
Returning a verdict of death by natural causes, Dr Cullinane said she would notify the medicines board that the woman was taking the slimming aid, currently advertised on Irish TV, because the information might be of use in years to come.
“We don’t know about the effects of these substances,” the coroner said.