Silva was rushed to the hospital after taking the pill and becoming sick. She is said to be at risk of miscarriage or giving birth to a baby with birth defects.
The pill Silva ingested was called methotrexate. It belongs to a powerful class of drugs known as antimetabolites, which slow the growth of living cells. Methotrexate impacts the body's ability to use folic acid, which is necessary for DNA synthesis and cell growth.
Methotrexate is used in the treatment of serious diseases and conditions, including:
- Severe psoriasis
- Severe rheumatoid arthritis
- Many types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, leukemia and certain types of lymphoma
- Crohn's disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Research on methotrexate began in 1947, when a scientist named Sidney Farber began testing it in pediatric leukemia patients. The drug, which had been developed by Indian scientist Yellapragada Subbarao, proved effective. It was also found to be safer than a previous leukemia drug called aminopterin.
Studies on other uses for methotrexate continued through the 1970s. The Food and Drug Administration approved it for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis 1988.
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