MONDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Propranolol, a β-adrenergic receptor blocker, appears to have a rapid effect in treating complicated infantile hemangiomas, according to research published online Aug. 10 in Pediatrics.
Veronique Sans, M.D., of Children's Hospital in Bordeaux, France, and colleagues analyzed data from 32 infants and very young children with infantile hemangiomas that were potentially life threatening or had complications, functional risk, or severe cosmetic impact, or that needed to be treated before surgery. Thirteen subjects had been treated with corticosteroids, with limited effect.
The researchers found that all cases showed rapid therapeutic response, with changes in color and softening of lesions occurring within hours. Ulcerations healed completely within two months. The treatment seemed to be equally effective in treating the color and thickness of fully developed infantile hemangiomas during late interventions. Side effects included a drop in blood pressure in one patient and onset of asthma in another.
"In our study, propranolol administered orally at 2 to 3 mg/kg per day had a rapid therapeutic effect in all cases, with color changes and softening appearing within the first hours of treatment. This effect was sustained over the next several weeks, leading to considerable shortening of the natural course of infantile hemangiomas," the authors conclude. "More comparative, randomized studies with a greater number of patients are needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of the drug."