A 19-year-old mother is fighting for her life in intensive care after she took some of her friend’s prescription antibiotics and had a serious reaction akin to burning from the inside out.
On Thanksgiving, Yassmeen Castanada began to feel ill and decided to take an antibiotic that a friend had left from an illness. Castanada’s nose, throat and eyes soon began to burn, and she was taken to the emergency room.
Over the course of a few days, Castanada began getting blisters all over her body. She eventually had to be sedated and according to ABC News, was placed on a ventilator. “Her face changed within four days," Castanada’s mother, Laura Corona said. “I would wipe her face and all the skin was just falling off."
It was determined that Castanada was suffering from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare drug reaction. The syndrome causes inflammation and blistering on the skin, lips, eyes and genitals, and leaves patients “unable to stay hydrated,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner told ABC News.
“You're not truly burned, but what happens is you have compromised the skin barrier function," Zeichner said. Those diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome are “treated like burn victims.”
Zeichner, who was not involved in treating Castanada, said that because Stevens-Johnson syndrome is so rare, it is difficult to determine who would be prone to this kind of reaction and who wouldn’t. “Unfortunately, we have no way of predicting who would have this type reaction,” the Mount Sinai Hospital dermatology professor said. Zeichner advised people to only take medication that is prescribed to them and not to share their prescriptions with others.
Castanada will likely remain in the hospital through Christmas, and will miss spending the holiday with her baby. The 19-year-old California State University sophomore reportedly faces a long recovery and intense rehabilitation.