Background: Propranolol has recently been reported to be useful in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas. However, there are still many questions regarding the dosage, duration, and method of delivery.
Methods: In this retrospective, observational case series, all patients had complete eye examinations and were found to have vision-threatening hemangiomas. All patients had a baseline electrocardiogram. Outpatient, oral propranolol therapy was initiated between 3 weeks and 12 months of age. The dosage was slowly increased to 2 mg/kg daily over the course of 1-2 weeks. Response to therapy was deemed "excellent" (>50% reduction in size), "good" (decreased size but <50%), "fair" (no further growth), or "poor" (continued growth or intolerable adverse effects).
Results: A total of 17 patients were treated with oral therapy. Of these, 10 had excellent results, 6 had a good response, 1 fair, and none poor. Mild adverse effects were noted in 6 of the 17 patients and included the following: increased gastric reflux lasting 1 week, intermittent fatigue during the first 2 weeks, gastrointestinal upset, and slight "shakiness" with a missed dose. No symptoms were severe enough to discontinue treatment. All families were satisfied with the treatment.
Conclusions: Outpatient propranolol treatment reduced the size or stopped the growth of all hemangiomas treated, with excellent response in more than half of all patients treated and only minor side effects. Although this is a small initial series, we are encouraged with the efficacy of this treatment modality in comparison with other currently available treatment options.