Propranolol in the management of infantile hemangiomas: clinical response and predictors

J Cutan Med Surg. 2012 May-Jun;16(3):169-73. doi: 10.1177/120347541201600306.


Background: Recent data suggest that propranolol is an effective treatment for infantile hemangiomas (IHs). Data on the optimal dose, duration of therapy, and predictors of response are currently lacking.

Objective: To assess the clinical response to and predictors of propranolol use in the treatment of IH.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 44 patients. Two independent assessors evaluated improvement by comparing serial digital photographs using a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS), where 5 mm change represented 10% change in the size or appearance of the IH.

Results: Propranolol was started at a mean age of 7.8 (SD 8.21) months and was used for 7.3 (SD 4.8) months before weaning. The mean percent improvement compared to baseline (as measured by the VAS) was 78% (SD 23%). Minor adverse events were noted in 32% of patients. The most significant predictor of regrowth after weaning was a IH > 5 cm in size (p = .017).

Conclusions: Propranolol is effective in IH, but the side effects and the possibility of regrowth should be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / drug therapy*
  • Photography
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol

Supplementary concepts

  • Hemangioma, capillary infantile