Propranolol therapy for infantile hemangioma

Indian Pediatr. 2013 Mar;50(3):307-13. doi: 10.1007/s13312-013-0098-9.


Context: There has been widespread interest surrounding the use of beta-blockers (i.e. propranolol, timolol, nadolol, acebutolol) in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas (IH).

Objective: To review literature evaluating treatment of IH with propranolol.

Evidence acquisition: We conducted a literature search on PubMed and investigated for case reports, case series, and controlled trials by using search terms including hemangioma and propranolol.

Results: Data suggest that beta-blockers are efficacious in cutaneous, orbital, subglottic, and hepatic hemangiomas and assist in the resolution of ulcerated hemangiomas. Improvement has also been documented in children with PHACE syndrome. Propranolol produces favorable results in children who do not respond to steroids and with no long-term adverse effects. Propranolol should be administered with caution due to rare but serious side effects including hypoglycemia, wheezing, hypotension, and bradycardia. Additionally, recurrence of lesions following the cessation of treatment has been documented.

Conclusions: Although large-scale randomized controlled trials must be conducted in order to further evaluate the safety and the possible role of propranolol in the treatment of IH, the reviewed literature suggests that propranolol carries promise as a potential replacement for corticosteroids as first-line therapy or as a part of a multimodal approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol