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Clin Ophthalmol. 2011;5:1639-44. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S24141. Epub 2011 Nov 18.

Nonselective β-blocker propranolol for orbital and periorbital hemangiomas in infants: a new first-line of treatment?

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Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.



To determine the effectiveness and possible side effects of using propranolol for the treatment of orbital and periorbital infantile hemangiomas.


Infants with periorbital or orbital hemangiomas who had not received either local or systemic corticosteroids were recruited. The changes in tumor size, color, and texture, and any side effects of the drug were recorded.


Fifteen infants with a mean age of 8.13 ± 4.7 months were treated according to the set protocol. A change in the color and texture of the hemangioma occurred in the first week following treatment. Mean duration of treatment was 7.67 ± 3.96 months. The size of hemangiomas decreased from a mean of 2.4 ± 0.9 cm to a mean of 1.6 ± 1.0 cm 3 months after treatment (P = 0.001). One patient had to stop the drug because of peripheral vascular ischemia. Another case had the dose reduced to control a mild hyperglycemia. Serious side effects were not observed. A single case of tumor regrowth (8.3%) was recorded.


Treatment of 1-2 mg/kg/day propranolol proved to be effective and associated with minimal side effects. It is likely to replace steroids as the first-line of treatment of hemangiomas in infants.


adrenal suppression; corticosteroids; orbital and periorbital hemangioma; propranolol; β-blockers

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