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Eur J Pediatr. 2013 Nov;172(11):1521-6. doi: 10.1007/s00431-013-2075-7. Epub 2013 Jun 29.

Propranolol is more effective than pulsed dye laser and cryosurgery for infantile hemangiomas.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan,


Propranolol hydrochloride is a nonselective β-blocker that is used for the treatment of hypertension, arrhythmia, and angina pectoris. In Japan, it was recently approved for the treatment of childhood arrhythmia. It has been observed to produce drastic involution of infantile hemangiomas. The aim of this prospective study was to examine propranolol's superiority to classical therapy with pulsed dye laser and/or cryosurgery in treating proliferating infantile hemangiomas. Fifteen patients between the ages of 1 and 4 months with proliferating infantile hemangiomas received grinded propranolol tablets 2 mg/kg per day divided in three doses. Twelve patients with proliferating infantile hemangiomas receiving pulsed dye laser and/or cryosurgery were enrolled as controls. Baseline electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and chest x-ray were performed. Monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure, and blood glucose was performed every 2 weeks. Efficacy was assessed by performing blinded volume measurements and taking photographs at every visit. Propranolol induced significantly earlier involution and redness reduction of infantile hemangiomas, compared to pulsed dye laser and cryosurgery. Adverse effects such as hypoglycemia, hypotension, or bradycardia did not occur.


The dramatic response of infantile hemangiomas to propranolol and few side effects suggest that early treatment of infantile hemangiomas could result in decreased disfigurement. Propranolol should be considered as a first-line treatment of infantile hemangiomas.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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