Propranolol Effectively Treats Infantile Hemangiomas

Also effective in treating recurrences of head and neck hemangiomas

WEDNESDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Propranolol appears to be an effective first-line therapy in the treatment of infantile head and neck hemangiomas, according to research published in the May issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Carine Fuchsmann, M.D., of the Hospices Civils de Lyon in Bron, France, and colleagues reviewed data on 39 children with head and neck infantile hemangiomas treated with propranolol to report on the efficacy of that treatment and present an optimized protocol for treating hemangiomas.

The researchers found that, for 60 percent of the patients, propranolol constituted the sole treatment, and in 33 patients, the drug was started at a mean age of 4.1 months for early intervention. Within two days to two weeks, the treatment lightened and reduced hemangiomas at 37 of 39 locations. Propranolol was also effective in treating recurrences, which happened in six patients. Longer treatment reduced recurrences. The therapy was effective in controlling 26 hemangiomas occurring on the nose, lips, or parotid area, locations not indicated for use of corticosteroids.

"Propranolol is an effective treatment of head and neck infantile hemangiomas, especially when started early within the rapid growth phase, and is first-line treatment of orbit and larynx hemangiomas. The efficacy and tolerability of propranolol led us to treat some hemangiomas in patients whom we previously would have observed rather than subject to corticosteroid therapy. Relapse was avoided if treatment was prolonged after theoretical involution (age 12 months). Questions remain about optimal dosing and age at treatment cessation," the authors write.

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