22-Dec-14 11:30 AM  CST

Teen Fighting for Life After Sharing Antibiotic with Friend

We’ve all been there. Sore throat, fever, believing you feel the worst you have ever felt, and knowing you need to see a doctor, but don’t have the money or maybe the time, so we self medicate. This is what happened to Yaasmeen Castanda a 19 year old, mother from Irvine, California. Yaasmeen had been feeling under the weather, sore throat, and cold symptoms. Wanting to help a friend offered to share their antibiotics with Yaasmeen, and this is where the story becomes tragic.

Yaasmeen began having symptoms of an allergic reaction moments after taking the antibiotic. Almost immediately she had difficulty breathing, then she began to complain that her lips and throat were burning. Her mother states that the symptoms became so bad that the whites of Yaasmeen’s eyes had turned red, all sure signs that she was having an allergic reaction. Yaasmeen’s mother rushed her to the emergency room where the physician’s at University of California, Irvine diagnosed Yaasemeen with Stevens- Johnson Syndrome. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a rare and often life threatening skin disorder that is set off by an allergic reaction to antibiotics such as tetracycline, ampicillin, and amoxicillin and sometimes by anticonvulsive such as phenobarbital or Tegretol.

In the case of Yaasmeen Castanda, the reaction was so severe that she is now fighting for her life in the burn unit at UC, Irvine. Suffering from large open wounds all over her body, doctors say Yaasmeen’s body is burning from the “inside out”. More than 70% of Yaasmeen’s body has been damaged, and her doctors state she has a very long road ahead. So far Yaasmeen has had surgery twice to scrape the dead skin from her body and to have a temporary biosynthetic skin called Biobrane applied. Doctors warn, never share medication, and even though Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is rare, no one should take any medication unless their own physician prescribes it.




CBSNews, (2014) “Teen takes antibiotic, suffers burns from the ‘inside out’”, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/teen-takes-antibiotic-suffers-from-burn-inside-out/, retrieved, 13.December 2014

Marco, T. and Shiocet, C., (2014) “A friend gave her an antibiotic; now she’s fighting for her life”, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/10/health/california-antibiotic-allergic-reaction/index.html?hpt=he_c2, retrieved 13.December, 2014




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Source: Sandy Andrews  

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