‘It’s terrifying’: parents’ struggle to get help for children with long Covid

Health

The Guardian 03 May, 2021 - 01:33pm 53 views

“For months she had a relentless, agonising headache, nausea, tinnitus, fatigue and insomnia, but the worst thing was the agonising nerve pain,” said Jackson. “I couldn’t even touch her without her screaming in pain.”

On Christmas morning, Jackson drove to hospital with her daughter vomiting from pain in the passenger seat. When they got to the hospital, however, the A&E doctor said there was no such thing as long Covid in children. “He said she just needed to go home and get on with her life,” Jackson said. “It was jaw-dropping.”

It is extremely rare for children and young people to contract severe Covid, but recent research has shown that even mild or asymptomatic infection can lead to long Covid in children. A study at UCL is investigating long Covid in 11- to 17-year-olds who were not hospitalised with the disease.

“The Office for National Statistics found that after 12 weeks, 7% of two- to 11-year-olds, 8% of 12- to 16-year-olds and 11.5% of 17- to 24-year-olds had symptoms,” said Dr Nisreen Alwan, an associate professor in public Health at the University of Southampton.

In the absence of that definition and guidance, parents say they are being dismissed or regarded with suspicion by medical professionals over their child’s unexplained symptoms.

One of the problems, says the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, is that services for rehabilitating children seriously affected by, for example, chronic fatigue symptoms are “completely inadequate” in many parts of the country.

“We’re very pleased to see the high-quality research being undertaken into symptoms seen in some children post-Covid,” a spokesperson said. “One of the things these studies hope to find out is which symptoms are to do with the effect of the virus (many viruses can leave people with post-viral symptoms such as chronic fatigue), and which are a consequence of lockdown or other knock-on effects of the pandemic.”

“GPs deal in certainties but there are no certainties here, just a litany of new symptoms. We’ve been bounced endlessly between child and mental health services and the GP, but still no one has any idea how to help my son.”

Janet* is certain that her two teenage daughters both have long Covid. “I’m a senior nurse and I still feel patronised and dismissed by the paediatricians,” she said. “Nothing has happened unless I’ve threatened to complain. There are just constant attempts to fob me off by implying the severity of my daughters’ symptoms are exaggerated.”

Anna said her experience with her 12-year-old son had been “barbaric and horrible”. “To send a child away from A&E when he’s screaming in pain and insisting it’s all in his head – which is what has happened to us – is negligent and criminal,” she said.

Melania* had a similar experience with her two-year-old daughter. “She’s been having seizures and losing consciousness since October but doctors have been dismissive to the point of telling me I’m an anxious mother and needed to calm down because children of my daughter’s age are not affected by Covid or long Covid.”

Ruth believes that her daughter Sue, 15, also has long Covid. “If they don’t believe us now, how can we even hope to find out what the long-term impact of this condition could be on our children?” she said. “It’s terrifying.”

Frances Simpson, a lecturer in psychology at Coventry University, co-founded the support and advocacy group Long Covid Kids in October after her two children, Saskia, now 10, and Magnus, now six, developed the condition. Membership stands at more than 2,000 parent and is growing by about 100 a day.

“Many parents on our site have experienced poor care for their children, including diagnoses of anxiety in the child and even, in some cases, some form of Munchausen by proxy in the parents,” said Simpson. “Even those medical practitioners who have been supportive have been honest in their admission that there is no research and no answers.”

Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate author who spent 47 days in intensive care after contracting Covid, has agreed to be a trustee of the group.

“It’s emerging that this is an overlooked and special area of people affected by Covid,” he said. “We’ve allowed the common understanding to spread that children don’t get Covid and/or if they get it, they don’t get it bad, and that if they get it, they don’t get long Covid. Clearly, things aren’t that simple and we need more detail and more stats to tell us more.”

Read full article at The Guardian

Instagram urged by UK health officials to clamp down on users promoting ‘dangerous’ unlicensed drug

Irish Examiner 03 May, 2021 - 08:21pm

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Instagram told to stop influencers promoting body “dangerous" drug

Liverpool Echo 03 May, 2021 - 03:00pm

Health leaders have told Instagram to clamp down on influencers using the social media platform to promote and sell Apetamin.

The sale of Apetamin is illegal in the UK however, influencers across the globe are promoting the “dangerous drug” as a quick fix in order to achieve the “extreme hourglass figure”.

The unlicensed drug was the subject of a BBC Three documentary Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick?, which spoke to a number of aspiring young models all in search of the ‘slim thicc’ body.

Findings from the investigation described the drug as “an appetite-stimulant promoted by social media influencers as a quick fix for the extreme hourglass figure popularised by celebrities like Kim Kardashian”.

The drug is widely available online but it is said to cause side effects including fatigue, jaundice and liver failure.

In an open letter, senior NHS officials in England have written to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, urging the company to shut down any accounts and content that promotes or attempts to sell Apetamin.

NHS England’s national mental health director, Claire Murdoch, and national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, alongside Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, said the drug could result in “serious harm” to anyone who takes it.

They said: “We are writing regarding the unlicensed and dangerous drug Apetamin, which is promoted on your platform and could result in serious harm to any individual who takes it.

“This substance is consumed as a supplement, to foster a specific body image and shape, deemed to be desirable by some high-profile influencers, and predominantly targeted at younger women and girls.

“On behalf of NHS patients, staff and people experiencing body dysmorphic disorder and other mental health conditions, as well as their families, we are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate a duty of care for your customers, and clamp down now on this dangerous content.”

The letter, dated Friday and seen by the PA news agency, said that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had made clear that Apetamin is an “unauthorised medicine which should not be sold, supplied or advertised without a licence” and that “taking unauthorised medicines can have serious health consequences”.

It said that a quick search reveals “dozens” of profiles on Instagram selling and advertising the product to potentially millions of users.

The letter said that while Instagram had recently stressed that buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs was against its policies, many accounts were still active despite being reported.

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It added: “Unfortunately, many accounts are still active, and when such activity was reported – in line with Instagram advice – no action was taken, with a customer service response from your platform claiming that the commercial sale of Apetamin through Instagram accounts did not breach your community guidelines.”

The NHS leaders are asking for an urgent update on what action Instagram is taking to shut down such accounts and confirm that any content selling or promoting Apetamin will be removed.

They also asked the social media platform to confirm how many accounts and posts had been removed in relation to Apetamin and what steps are currently being taken to protect users from content “likely, or with the potential to, trigger or exacerbate body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and other conditions”.

It also asked Instagram to confirm if it agreed that “permitting the sale of supplements such as Apetamin, whose purpose is primarily to encourage impressionable, often younger, women and girls to achieve an unobtainable and biologically unsafe body shape and type, is at odds with Instagram’s community guidelines”.

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A spokesman from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation said: “As a small charity we are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the numbers of people reaching out to us for more support with the debilitating condition body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

“Although social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms.

“We urge companies, such as Instagram, to take the wellbeing of their vulnerable users seriously.

“The promotion of Apetamin on social media can be very damaging in terms of physical and mental health, and therefore should not go unchallenged.”

NHS criticises Instagram over promotion of 'hourglass' drug product

Telegraph.co.uk 03 May, 2021 - 03:00pm

NHS chiefs have criticised Instagram for allowing the promotion of a dangerous "hourglass figure" supplement.

Three senior executives have written to the social media giant demanding it blocks access to accounts showcasing Apetamin, which can cause fatigue, jaundice and liver failure.

Previous investigations have revealed that the unlicensed drug is being marketed by influencers as a means of achieving a curvy figure.

The letter, from Claire Murdoch, NHS England's national mental health director, and Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director, alongside Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, said the drug could result in "serious harm".

The product was predominantly targeted at younger women and girls, they said.

"On behalf of NHS patients, staff and people experiencing body dysmorphic disorder and other mental health conditions, we are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate a duty of care for your customers, and clamp down now on this dangerous content," the executives wrote.

The letter, addressed personally to Adam Mosseri, the Instagram chief, said that while the site had recently stressed that buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs was against its policies, many accounts were still active despite being reported.

It added: "When such activity was reported - in line with Instagram advice - no action was taken, with a customer service response from your platform claiming that the commercial sale of Apetamin through Instagram accounts did not breach community guidelines."

The letter said that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had made clear that Apetamin was an "unauthorised medicine which should not be sold, supplied or advertised without a licence", and that "taking unauthorised medicines can have serious health consequences".

But it said that a quick search revealed "dozens" of profiles on Instagram selling and advertising the product to potentially millions of users.

The popularity of Apetamin has been linked to the vogue for so-called hourglass figures promoted by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.

Girls as young as 12 have reportedly taken the appetite stimulant, which causes extreme drowsiness in some who take it.

One woman, who spoke to a BBC Three investigation, said she had gained two stone in a month and a half.

The NHS leaders demanded an urgent update on what action Instagram was taking to shut down such accounts and confirm that any content selling or promoting Apetamin would be removed.

They also challenged the social media platform to confirm how many accounts and posts had been removed in relation to Apetamin and what steps were currently being taken to protect users from content "likely, or with the potential to, trigger or exacerbate body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and other conditions".

The letter also asked Instagram to support a recommendation from Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, that social media firms could contribute more financially to the provision of young people's mental health services that were "increasingly called on to support people whose health problems are linked to damaging online content".

In 2019 Instagram said it was banning quick-fix diet product promotions.

The company said it would remove any posts that made "miraculous" claims about weight loss and were linked to a commercial promotion.

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Apetamin: NHS urges Instagram to clamp down on 'dangerous' weight-gain drug

Sky News 03 May, 2021 - 10:23am

Apetamin is being sold and promoted on Instagram and other sites as a way to achieve an hour-glass figure in the mould of celebrities like Kim Kardashian.

However, senior health leaders say the appetite stimulant could cause "serious harm".

One of the drug's ingredients is a prescription-only antihistamine linked to side effects such as dizziness, tremors, nausea, blurred visions and liver toxicity.

"We are writing regarding the unlicensed and dangerous drug Apetamin, which is promoted on your platform and could result in serious harm to any individual who takes it," says the letter to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.

"This substance is consumed as a supplement, to foster a specific body image and shape, deemed to be desirable by some high-profile influencers, and predominately targeted at younger women and girls."

The letter is signed by NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis, national mental health director Claire Murdoch, and Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.

They say they are concerned about the drug's "physical and mental health impacts" and urge Instagram "to demonstrate a duty of care... and clamp down now on this dangerous content".

Apetamin is unauthorised in the UK and should not be sold, supplied or advertised, the letter adds.

The drug's unlawful availability was highlighted in a BBC Three documentary last month and Instagram said it had removed the accounts highlighted.

It stressed that buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs was "strictly against our policies".

However, the letter claims "dozens of profiles" selling Apetamin are still online and that when it flagged them up, a customer service message claimed they did not break the rules.

The NHS chiefs ask for an "urgent update" on what Instagram is doing to shut down accounts or content that promote the drug.

They also seek assurances that any "shortcomings" in its community guidelines that allow such content to appear will be tightened.

A spokesman from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation said they were becoming overwhelmed by people seeking help for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

"Although social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms," the spokesman said.

Instagram criticised over sale of weight gain drug

The Star, Kenya 03 May, 2021 - 05:49am

• Instagram say selling non-medical drugs is "strictly against our policies".

• In an open letter, NHS leaders say they are concerned about the product's promotion and the impact on physical and mental health.

NHS England has urged Instagram to clamp down on accounts selling an unlicensed, "dangerous" drug mainly targeted at younger women and girls.

The sale of Apetamin is illegal in the UK, but BBC Three revealed it is available in shops and online.

In an open letter, NHS leaders say they are concerned about the product's promotion and the impact on physical and mental health.

Instagram say selling non-medical drugs is "strictly against our policies".

Apetamin is not licensed in the UK which means the regulator has not carried out tests to ensure it meets strict safety standards and it should not be sold, supplied or advertised.

Doctors say misuse of the appetite stimulant can cause severe fatigue, jaundice and even liver failure.

However, the syrup is regularly promoted by social media influencers as a quick way to gain weight and develop an extreme hourglass figure, like celebrities Kim Kardashian and Cardi B.

Instagram said it had taken down accounts that sell and advertise Apetamin in response to the BBC Three documentary Dangerous Curves, which aired on 21 April.

However, NHS England says it's since found "dozens of profiles" are still active and when this was reported, "no action was taken".

In the letter, National Medical Director, Stephen Powis and National Mental Health Director, Clare Murdoch, demand an urgent update on what action the site is taking to tackle accounts selling Apetamin.

"We are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate duty of care to your customers and clamp down now on this dangerous content."

They say they are sending the letter "on behalf of NHS patients, staff and people experiencing body dysmorphia and other mental health conditions, as well as their families".

The letter, which has also been signed by the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, has asked Instagram to confirm whether it thinks social media firms should contribute more financially to young people's mental health services - which it's claimed are increasingly being called on.

"It's time these media giants stepped up to the plate and took some responsibility," Claire Murdoch told the BBC.

"Here we are investing more than ever in mental and physical heath, these media giants like Instagram need to contribute more as well."

The BBC has found Apetamin is also still being sold on other online sites and in shops, following its investigation.

In a statement from the Facebook company, which owns Instagram, a spokesperson said: "The wellbeing of our community is our top priority and buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs is strictly against our policies.

"We remove accounts that sell Apetamin when we become aware of them and block related hashtags so this content is harder to find.

"We'll continue working with law enforcement and youth organisations to help keep drugs sales of any kind off Instagram."

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently investigating the sale of Apetamin, which is made by TIL Healthcare in India.

The company's spokesperson has previously told the BBC it is not exporting the product to the UK and it has no information on its availability in the UK.

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NHS blasts Instagram for promoting ‘dangerous’ diet drug to girls as young as 12

The Sun 03 May, 2021 - 05:18am

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

INSTAGRAM has been called out by the NHS for allowing the promotion of “dangerous” diet drugs to girls as young as 12.

The drug, Apetamin, is marketed as a way to get the idealistic hourglass figure of Kim Kardashian and chart-topper Cardi B.

But docs say its ingredients can cause side-effects including fatigue, jaundice and liver failure.

The syrup is marketed as a weight gain supplement that increases appetite.

It’s become a desirable product for women with a slender figure looking to achieve the “slim thick” curves that many celebrities have gained with cosmetic surgery and intense exercise plans.

Influencers promoting its use claim the drug can make women gain weight in the “right places” - such as the bum, hips, thighs and breasts - without impacting the waist.

Senior NHS officials in England have written to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, urging the company to shut down any accounts and content that promotes or attempts to sell Apetamin.

But a quick search reveals “dozens” of profiles on Instagram selling and advertising the product to potentially millions of users.

Apetamin is not licensed for sale in the UK meaning it does not go through safety checks.

However it is easily available online and, as a BBC Three investigation discovered, in British shops.

The letter, headed by NHS England’s national mental health director, Claire Murdoch, said the drug could result in “serious harm” to anyone who takes it.

It said: “We are writing regarding the unlicensed and dangerous drug Apetamin, which is promoted on your platform and could result in serious harm to any individual who takes it.

“This substance is consumed as a supplement, to foster a specific body image and shape, deemed to be desirable by some high-profile influencers, and predominately targeted at younger women and girls.

“We are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate a duty of care for your customers, and clamp down now on this dangerous content.”

The letter, seen by the PA news agency, said that the UK’s drug regulator the MHRA had made clear that Apetamin is an “unauthorised medicine which should not be sold, supplied or advertised without a licence”.

“Taking unauthorised medicines can have serious health consequences”, the MHRA added. 

The letter said while Instagram had attempted to ban such drugs, many accounts were still active despite being reported.

“Unfortunately, many accounts are still active, and when such activity was reported – in line with Instagram advice – no action was taken, with a customer service response from your [Instagram] platform claiming that the commercial sale of Apetamin through Instagram accounts did not breach your community guidelines.”

The NHS leaders are asking for an urgent update on what Instagram is doing to clamp down on the problem.

It asks for information on what the social media giant is doing to protect users from content that triggers eating disorders.

The letters signatures also included NHS national medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, and Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.

A spokesman from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation said: “As a small charity we are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the numbers of people reaching out to us for more support with the debilitating condition body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

“Although social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms.

“We urge companies, such as Instagram, to take the wellbeing of their vulnerable users seriously.

“The promotion of Apetamin on social media can be very damaging in terms of physical and mental health, and therefore should not go unchallenged.”

Women have shared their experiences taking Apetemin with unfavourable side effects in the BBC Three documentary, Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick? , released on iPlayer on Wednesday, April 21.

One woman went from 8st 7lbs to 13st 7lbs in just three months of taking the supplement.

She said: “I collapsed in the street and they brought me to hospital. I went to college and the same thing happened again, back in hospital.

"I was in denial. I took it again and I collapsed down the stairs at home. Apetamin is the devil.”

The women said she had an "inkling" Apetamin was illegal in the UK when she asked for it at a chemist's.

She said: "They looked at me as if I was mad. So I went to an African store where it was for sale."

Other women describe being so fatigued they can't keep their eyes open, having swollen feet causing them to trip up, and suffering jaundice.

As part of the programme, Altou, 19, visits personal trainers Ed and Chi at Zygostatics, who tell her the only way to achieve the Kylie Jenner look is through hard work at the gym.

Shockingly, Ed, who is also a pharmacist, told he had met girls as young as 12 who had tried Apetamin.

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NHS urges Instagram to stop influencers promoting ‘dangerous’ appetite drug

The Independent 02 May, 2021 - 07:00pm

A quick search of the social media platform shows the drug – which can cause fatigue, jaundice and liver failure – is being advertised to potentially millions of people by “dozens” of accounts, health leaders alleged in a letter to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri.

Sent by NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch, national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, and Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, the letter warned the drug could result in “serious harm to any individual who takes it”.

They urged the company to shut down any accounts and remove any content promoting the substance – which is often marketed as an appetite stimulant.

“This substance is consumed as a supplement, to foster a specific body image and shape, deemed to be desirable by some high-profile influencers, and predominately targeted at younger women and girls,” they wrote.

“On behalf of NHS patients, staff and people experiencing body dysmorphic disorder and other mental health conditions, as well as their families, we are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate a duty of care for your customers, and clamp down now on this dangerous content.”

It comes after a BBC investigation into the drug’s prevalence on social media, with one young woman telling the broadcaster of her experience: “You feel quite nauseous. I would jerk or shiver or shake. I was probably overdosing myself.

“I collapsed down the stairs at home. I collapsed in the street and they brought me into hospital. Apetamin is the devil.”

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said this week that it was investigating the matter in response to the BBC Three documentary, titled Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick.

The health leaders’ letter, dated Friday, said the MHRA had made clear that Apetamin is an “unauthorised medicine which should not be sold, supplied or advertised without a licence” and that “taking unauthorised medicines can have serious health consequences”.

It added: “Unfortunately, many accounts are still active, and when such activity was reported – in line with Instagram advice – no action was taken, with a customer service response from your platform claiming that the commercial sale of Apetamin through Instagram accounts did not breach your community guidelines.”

The NHS leaders are asking for an urgent update on what action Instagram is taking to shut down such accounts and confirm that any content selling or promoting Apetamin will be removed.

They also asked the social media giant to confirm how many accounts and posts had been removed in relation to Apetamin and what steps are currently being taken to protect users from content “likely, or with the potential to, trigger or exacerbate body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and other conditions”.

The letter also asks whether Instagram supports a recommendation from NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens that social media firms could contribute more financially to the provision of young people's mental health services that are “increasingly called on to support people whose health problems are linked to damaging online content”.

The health experts pushed Instagram to confirm whether it agreed that “permitting the sale of supplements such as Apetamin, whose purpose is primarily to encourage impressionable, often younger, women and girls to achieve an unobtainable and biologically unsafe body shape and type, is at odds with Instagram's community guidelines”.

A Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation spokesperson said: “As a small charity we are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the numbers of people reaching out to us for more support with the debilitating condition body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

“Although social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms. We urge companies, such as Instagram, to take the wellbeing of their vulnerable users seriously.

“The promotion of Apetamin on social media can be very damaging in terms of physical and mental health, and therefore should not go unchallenged.”

Apetamin: Instagram criticised over weight gain drug

BBC News 02 May, 2021 - 06:49pm

The sale of Apetamin is illegal in the UK, but BBC Three revealed it is available in shops and online.

In an open letter, NHS leaders say they are concerned about the product's promotion and the impact on physical and mental health.

Instagram say selling non-medical drugs is "strictly against our policies".

Apetamin is not licensed in the UK which means the regulator has not carried out tests to ensure it meets strict safety standards and it should not be sold, supplied or advertised.

Doctors say misuse of the appetite stimulant can cause severe fatigue, jaundice and even liver failure.

However, the syrup is regularly promoted by social media influencers as a quick way to gain weight and develop an extreme hourglass figure, like celebrities Kim Kardashian and Cardi B.

Instagram said it had taken down accounts that sell and advertise Apetamin in response to the BBC Three documentary Dangerous Curves, which aired on 21 April.

However, NHS England says it's since found "dozens of profiles" are still active and when this was reported, "no action was taken".

In the letter, National Medical Director, Stephen Powis and National Mental Health Director, Clare Murdoch, demand an urgent update on what action the site is taking to tackle accounts selling Apetamin.

"We are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate duty of care to your customers and clamp down now on this dangerous content."

They say they are sending the letter "on behalf of NHS patients, staff and people experiencing body dysmorphia and other mental health conditions, as well as their families".

The letter, which has also been signed by the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, has asked Instagram to confirm whether it thinks social media firms should contribute more financially to young people's mental health services - which it's claimed are increasingly being called on.

"It's time these media giants stepped up to the plate and took some responsibility," Claire Murdoch told the BBC.

"Here we are investing more than ever in mental and physical heath, these media giants like Instagram need to contribute more as well."

The BBC has found Apetamin is also still being sold on other online sites and in shops, following its investigation.

Two years ago, Vanessa was taking Apetamin on a regular basis.

"I used to be happy with my body, but social media has affected the way I think. I developed insecurities I never knew I had," explains the 23-year-old.

"When you take Apetamin you can't control the weight you gain. It doesn't go to the right places, just straight to the belly. I was also really bloated and tired."

Vanessa, who always bought the product in a shop, says removing accounts which sell Apetamin will help, but won't solve the problem.

"A lot of people are blind to the pressure that makes you do things you shouldn't do. People make rude comments and 'skinny-shame' you.

"They say you don't look good and a curvaceous figure is the desired shape.

"It's madness women and girls like me are willing to take such a risk, but the pressures must be hitting us hard for us to think it's worth it."

In a statement from the Facebook company, which owns Instagram, a spokesperson said: "The wellbeing of our community is our top priority and buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs is strictly against our policies.

"We remove accounts that sell Apetamin when we become aware of them and block related hashtags so this content is harder to find.

"We'll continue working with law enforcement and youth organisations to help keep drugs sales of any kind off Instagram."

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is currently investigating the sale of Apetamin, which is made by TIL Healthcare in India.

The company's spokesperson has previously told the BBC it is not exporting the product to the UK and it has no information on its availability in the UK.

Hospitals in India's capitals are full and facing shortages of oxygen as Covid cases surge.

15 sayings from around the world

NHS warning over drug 'to give you Kardashian curves'

Daily Mail 02 May, 2021 - 05:29pm

By Daily Mail Reporter

Instagram has been urged by health leaders to clamp down on ‘influencers’ promoting a dangerous unlicensed supplement designed to create a ‘Kim Kardashian figure’. She is pictured above

Instagram has been urged by health leaders to clamp down on ‘influencers’ promoting a dangerous unlicensed supplement designed to create a ‘Kim Kardashian figure’.

BBC documentary Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick? revealed recently that Apetamin is being marketed by social media influencers as a way to develop an extreme hourglass shape.

The drug contains cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that stimulates appetite and leads to weight gain. However, side effects include fatigue, jaundice and liver failure.

Now senior NHS officials have written to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, urging the website to shut down accounts that recommend or try to sell the drug.

The letter is signed by NHS England’s national mental health director Claire Murdoch and national medical director Professor Stephen Powis, alongside Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation. 

It said the drug could cause ‘serious harm’, adding: ‘We are concerned about both the physical and mental health impacts of the promotion of this drug and strongly urge you to demonstrate a duty of care for your customers, and clamp down now on this dangerous content.’

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency had made clear that Apetamin is an ‘unauthorised medicine which should not be sold, supplied or advertised without a licence’. But a quick internet search reveals dozens of profiles still advertising the product to potentially millions of users – despite many of them having been reported.

The NHS leaders are asking for an urgent update on what action Instagram is taking to shut down such accounts and for confirmation that any content selling or promoting Apetamin will be removed.

A spokesman for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said: ‘The wellbeing of our community is our top priority and buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs is strictly against our policies... We’re committed to working with law enforcement and youth organisations to help keep drugs sales of any kind off Instagram.’

BBC documentary Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick? revealed recently that Apetamin is being marketed by social media influencers as a way to develop an extreme hourglass shape. The drug contains cyproheptadine, an antihistamine that stimulates appetite and leads to weight gain. However, side effects include fatigue, jaundice and liver failure

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