Woman Fighting for Her Life After Taking Friend's Antibiotic

December 16, 2014

A prime example as to why you should never share your prescription medications with anyone.

A California woman who took an antibiotic from a friend for a sore throat now regrets receiving the medication.

Yaasmeen Castanada was given an antibiotic that had been leftover from a friend’s prior illness. Now, Castanada is in critical condition at the University of California’s burn unit.

Doctors had diagnosed Castanada with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), a rare and potently fatal adverse reaction to antibiotics or other medications. It has since turned into toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), a more serious condition in which the skin separates from the rest of the body and “sloughs off.”

About 65% of Castanad'a body, including the skin and mucous membranes, have been affected. This also includes her eyes, which could lead to blindness.

When Castanada took the medication, she immediately started having trouble breathing. She told her mother that her lips were burning, and her throat and eyes were “so red that she couldn’t talk.” She was subsequently rushed to the ER. Her body had been wrapped with a special dressing as part of her treatment.

“It is heartbreaking; every day is a different look. Every day, she’s like, shedding away," Castanada’s aunt, Martha Hughes, told CNN affiliate KABC. "Overnight, it’s a whole different person that you are looking at.”

SJS and TEN have 25% survival rates in adults. After recovery from SJS, survivors usually experience dryness or other minor skin problems.

According to Dr. Victor Joe, Castanada's prognosis is still good, despite her condition.

The sharing of prescription medications with patients for whom the medication was not prescribed is actually illegal due to the potential for harm.

A website has been created to help pay for Castanada’s care.