Parental experiences with propranolol versus oral corticosteroids for complicated infantile hemangioma, a retrospective questionnaire study

Eur J Dermatol. Nov-Dec 2013;23(6):857-63. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2013.2176.


Background: Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are common and mostly emerge in the head-neck area. Recently, propranolol has been replacing oral corticosteroids (OCS) as the main treatment modality.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of treatment, contentment with treatment outcome and quality of life for families and patients with cervicofacial IHs, treated with propranolol versus OCS.

Materials and methods: This study was performed using questionnaires administered by a phone interview. Parents of 16 patients with a cervicofacial IH treated by OCS and 16 patients with an IH of similar localization and overall severity treated with propranolol were interviewed. The questions concerned the impact of treatment at different time periods and the contentment with treatment results. Parents were also asked to give a quality of life (QoL) score (1 to 10) for different time-points.

Results: Parents from the OCS group seemed to feel significantly more worried during treatment. Moreover, parents from the propranolol group perceived less negative impact on normal life issues, including work and vaccination of their child. During and after treatment, the parents of propranolol-treated IH patients gave significantly higher QoL scores.

Conclusion: Propranolol seems to change the impact of IHs, their treatment and the quality of life. Propranolol treatment interferes less with normal issues in daily life, compared to OCS. These findings underline propranolol as the first choice treatment for life- or function-threatening IHs.

Keywords: adrenergic beta-antagonist; corticosteroids; infantile hemangioma; propranolol; quality of life; treatment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Facial Dermatoses / congenital
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neck
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / drug therapy*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasodilator Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Propranolol

Supplementary concepts

  • Hemangioma, capillary infantile