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CO pregnant woman gets abortion drug by error

February 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A pregnant Colorado woman believes she is in danger of losing her baby because of a prescription drug mix-up at her pharmacy.

The drug she took can cause miscarriage or severe birth defects.

Mareena Silva and her boyfriend are facing frightening odds. The teenager's baby has a 50 percent chance of having abnormalities because she took Methotrexate nearly a week ago due to a prescription mix-up when she was six weeks pregnant.

"This is my first child," said Silva. "So it's difficult to deal with. My baby could have deformities and a lot that goes with it."

Methotrexate is used to treat some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. Silva thought she was taking an antibiotic, but after taking one pill she became nauseated.

"I took it because I thought it was mine," said Silva. "I came back and I looked at the bottle and it wasn't my name."

The Methotrexate had been prescribed for a woman whose last name was also Silva, but who is in her late 50's.

"It says she was born in 1953," said Silva.

Methotrexate can be, but is not commonly used, for non-surgical abortions. In this case it was a tragic mix-up at Mareena's Ft. Lupton Safeway pharmacy, which has admitted the mistake and has offered to pay medical expenses and conduct an investigation.

"Sorry is not going to cut it," said Silva. "I'm going to have to deal with this for a long time."

When Mareena took the drug, she called her doctor and he told her to try to vomit. Then she was rushed to the hospital where she was given charcoal to absorb the drug.

While a miscarriage is unlikely now, birth defects include throat problems, facial abnormalities and neurological problems. Some could show up on a sonogram, others defects will not show until the baby is born.

"For all this to happen now," said Silva. "It's really overwhelming to know I have to come home and sit and wait."

Methotrexate is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women and is supposed to be labeled with a clear warning. It is not known if the bottle had that warning in this case.