Health & Lifestyle

I almost died after buying £120 ‘skinny jab’ on Instagram: Mother, 27, reveals horror side effects left her urinating blood and vomiting for four days

A mother has told how she is ‘lucky to be alive’ after a ‘skinny jab’ she bought on Instagram left her urinating blood and vomiting.

In a bid to shed a few pounds before a family wedding, Shannon Flannery, of Medway in Kent, found semaglutide injections being flogged online.

The seller marketed the injections as ‘celebs’ best kept secret’. Semaglutide is the powerful chemical in Ozempic and Wegovy, the game-changing weight loss jabs ushering in a new era in the war on obesity.

The 27-year-old, who weighed 13st (82.6kg), paid £120 for ten-weeks worth of jabs in February.

DIY kits arrived by post with instructions on how to mix the ingredients herself.

In a bid to shed a few pounds before a family wedding, Shannon Flannery, of Medway in Kent, found semaglutide injections being flogged online. The seller marketed the injections as 'celebs' best kept secret'. Semaglutide is the powerful chemical in Ozempic and Wegovy, the game-changing weight loss jabs ushering in a new era in the war on obesity

In a bid to shed a few pounds before a family wedding, Shannon Flannery, of Medway in Kent, found semaglutide injections being flogged online. The seller marketed the injections as ‘celebs’ best kept secret’. Semaglutide is the powerful chemical in Ozempic and Wegovy, the game-changing weight loss jabs ushering in a new era in the war on obesity

The 27-year-old, who weighed 13st (82.6kg), paid £120 for ten-weeks worth of jabs in February. DIY kits arrived by post with instructions on how to mix the ingredients herself

The 27-year-old, who weighed 13st (82.6kg), paid £120 for ten-weeks worth of jabs in February. DIY kits arrived by post with instructions on how to mix the ingredients herself

Ms Flannery vomited and retched for four days after taking the second jab a week later, however. After spotting blood in her urine she rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital, where she claims medics told her one more 'skinny jab' could have been 'fatal'

Ms Flannery vomited and retched for four days after taking the second jab a week later, however. After spotting blood in her urine she rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital, where she claims medics told her one more ‘skinny jab’ could have been ‘fatal’

After administering the first injection directly into her stomach, the mother-of-two immediately felt nauseous. But her symptoms subsided quickly. 

Ms Flannery vomited and retched for four days after taking the second jab a week later, however. 

After spotting blood in her urine she rushed to hospital, where she claims medics told her one more ‘skinny jab’ could have been ‘fatal’. 

She is now begging others who are considering buying weight loss drugs online not to, saying: ‘Don’t take the easy way out. It’s a lesson learnt.

‘You don’t know what’s in these products. I’ve never felt so poorly in my life. I feel really, really lucky.’

Semaglutide has been shown to help users lose up to 33lbs (15.3kg) on average over 68 weeks. 

The treatments trick the brain into thinking it’s full, consequently slashing appetite and stopping users from overeating.

Huge global demand, however, has seen counterfeit versions flood the market. 

Health officials have already seized more than 600 potentially fake Ozempic pens across the UK since the start of 2023. 

Recalling her near-death ordeal, Ms Flannery said: ‘At the time, I thought everybody seems to be using it.’

She messaged the Instagram seller — who she already followed — after seeing a post. 

‘I followed all the instructions and injected my first jab on February 14th into my tummy,’ she added.

‘For the rest of the day, I felt okay. I felt a bit sick, I had no appetite that day, I didn’t eat.

‘But seven days later I took the second jab and then that evening I felt very sick. 

‘I was vomiting that night and feeling really unwell. I just felt wiped out, I was constantly retching and nothing came out.’

After spotting blood in her urine a day later she grew concerned, but it wasn’t until her symptoms refused to subside by the end of the week that her mother urged her to visit A&E.  

Rushing to Medway Maritime Hospital, medics also discovered her heart rate was high and blood pressure low. 

She was admitted onto the ward for two days, where she was treated for sickness and dehydration.

Ms Flannery said: ‘I was so poorly in A&E, I was laid across the chairs. I was given the strongest anti-sickness tablets but they didn’t work.

‘One of the doctors said to my mum that because of how sick I was and how low my observations were, another injection could’ve been fatal.’

Medics, however, could not be certain what the injections contained. Similar counterfeit weight loss jabs have in the past been found to have insulin in them. 

Injecting insulin in non-diabetics can drastically lower blood sugar levels — known medically as hypoglycaemia — and requires urgent attention. If left untreated it can cause seizures or even prove fatal.  

Once discharged from hospital, she was unable to stomach food for a week, having lost her appetite and dropped to 12st. 

She also reported the product to Kent Police and contacted the seller via Instagram demanding a refund, who refused, arguing they had ‘hundreds of happy customers with no side effects’.

She was admitted onto the ward for two days, where she was treated for sickness and dehydration. Medics, however, could not be certain what the injections contained. Similar counterfeit weight loss jabs have in the past been found to have insulin in them

She was admitted onto the ward for two days, where she was treated for sickness and dehydration. Medics, however, could not be certain what the injections contained. Similar counterfeit weight loss jabs have in the past been found to have insulin in them

She also reported the product to Kent Police and contacted the seller via Instagram demanding a refund, who refused, arguing they had 'hundreds of happy customers with no side effects'

She also reported the product to Kent Police and contacted the seller via Instagram demanding a refund, who refused, arguing they had ‘hundreds of happy customers with no side effects’

Once discharged from hospital, she was unable to stomach food for a week, having lost her appetite and dropped to 12st

Once discharged from hospital, she was unable to stomach food for a week, having lost her appetite and dropped to 12st

Officers were also unable to pursue the case given the seller’s address was unknown. 

Ms Flannery said: ‘I’ve definitely learnt my lesson. 

‘I won’t be doing anything like that again. I blamed myself afterwards for even buying it. I thought it must be okay because so many people were using it.

‘I feel lucky to be alive. 

‘My kids could’ve lost their mum. I wasn’t able to be mum to them for a while, it was horrible for everybody.

‘I’d never do anything like this again. I’d say to other women considering it, lose weight the right way — exercise, healthy eating. 

A Kent Police spokesperson said: ‘On March 1, 2024 Kent Police received a report of an alleged fraud relating to the online sale of a weight loss product. 

‘As the address of the seller was not known, the incident was referred to Action Fraud for further enquiries.

‘An officer also spoke to the woman who reported the incident to check on her welfare and advise her of the investigation process.’

Instagram has been contacted for comment.

Game-changing injections such as Ozempic have been hailed by the likes of Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson

Semaglutide has been shown to help users lose up to 33lbs (15.3kg) on average over 68 weeks. The treatments trick the brain into thinking it's full, consequently slashing appetite and stopping users from overeating. Huge global demand, however, has seen counterfeit versions flood the market. Health officials have already seized more than 600 potentially fake Ozempic pens across the UK since the start of 2023

Semaglutide has been shown to help users lose up to 33lbs (15.3kg) on average over 68 weeks. The treatments trick the brain into thinking it’s full, consequently slashing appetite and stopping users from overeating. Huge global demand, however, has seen counterfeit versions flood the market. Health officials have already seized more than 600 potentially fake Ozempic pens across the UK since the start of 2023 

Wegovy and Ozempic work by triggering the body to produce a hormone called GLP-1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals

Wegovy and Ozempic work by triggering the body to produce a hormone called GLP-1 that is released naturally from the intestines after meals

Ministers plan to dole the drug to millions of overweight Brits to trim the country’s bulging benefits bill. Children could eventually be given the jabs, too.

Like any medication, semaglutide can have known side effects that vary in both frequency and severity, including nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, stomach pain, headaches and dizziness. 

Some patients have also suffered hair loss while on them.

Latest NHS data shows 26 per cent of adults in England are obese and a further 38 per cent are overweight but not obese.

Experts have pointed to a lack of exercise, and poor diets high in ultra-processed food, as being key drivers in the UK’s obesity epidemic.

Ozempic is currently only available on the NHS as a treatment for managing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

It’s dramatic slimming effects saw doctors and pharmacists dish it out ‘off-label’ for people wanting to lose weight. However, officials urged against doing so because of supply issues, warning it put diabetics lives at risk.


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