[Treatment of infantile hemangiomas with low-dose propranolol: evaluation of short-term efficacy and safety]

Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2009 Dec 1;89(44):3130-4.
[Article in Chinese]


Objective: To evaluate the short-term efficacy and safety of propranolol in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas.

Methods: Between October 2008 and May 2009, oral propranolol was applied to 58 infants with hemangiomas at a dose of 1.0 - 1.5 mg per kilogram of body weight per day in Linyi, Shandong and Shanghai. There were 19 males and 39 females 1 to 12 months old with a mean age of 4 months. The primary tumor size was 1.5 cm x 1.0 cm to 18.0 cm x 5.0 cm. Twenty-seven were superficial, nine deep-seated and 22 mixed. The tumors were located in head and neck (n = 41), trunk and extremities (n = 12), labium vulvae (n = 2), perianal region (n = 1), perineum (n = 1) and scrotum (n = 1). The patients were hospitalized for 7 to 10 days, continued medication at home and revisited every 2 weeks. The changes of tumor size, texture and color were monitored and recorded at a regular interval. The adverse effects after medication were observed and managed accordingly. The short-term results were evaluated using a 4-point scale system.

Results: At 24 hours post-medication, all the tumors decreased in density, color and size. The changes became conspicuous within 5 to 7 days. Seven patients had medication for 2 months, 22 for 3 months, 21 for 4 months and 8 for 5 months. The follow-up period was 5 to 9 months. The overall response was scale I (poor) in 1 patient (1.7%), scale II (moderate) in 12 patients (20.7%), scale III (good) in 35 patients (60.4%) and scale IV (excellent) in 10 patients (17.2%). Statistical analysis showed that the treatment response for deep-seated hemangiomas was significantly better than that for superficial hemangiomas (P < 0.05), but no significant difference was found among different primary sites (P > 0.05). The main adverse effects were bradycardia (100%), diarrhea (63.8%) and sleep change (30.2%), which resolved after expectant treatment without any significant sequel. No serious adverse effect was observed.

Conclusions: Oral propranolol treatment at a low dose is a safe and effective regimen for infantile proliferating hemangiomas. And it can be used as the first-line therapeutic modality. The short-term efficacy is excellent while the side effects are minimal.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Propranolol / administration & dosage
  • Propranolol / adverse effects*
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Propranolol