Propranolol and infantile haemangiomas

by Anne Halbert

Since the first reports of propranolol being used to treat infantile haemangiomas in 2008, over 40 studies have now been published. In Pediatric Dermatology 2013;30:182, authors Marqueling et al reviewed 41 studies with 1264 patients. The response rate was noted to be 98% overall, far superior to previous treatment with corticosteroids. The most common side effects were sleep changes (11%), bluish hands and feet (5%), gastrointestinal upset with diarrhoea or reflux (3.4%) and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing (2.9%). Serious side effects were very rare and included symptomatic low blood pressure (5 patients), reduced heart rate (1 patient) and low blood sugar (4 patients).

This review confirms there is strong evidence for the good efficacy of propranolol, with side effects generally being mild and manageable.