Study of Cognitive Function in Children Treated with Propranolol for Infantile Hemangioma

Pediatr Dermatol. 2017 Sep;34(5):554-558. doi: 10.1111/pde.13229. Epub 2017 Aug 14.


Background: Oral propranolol is considered the first choice for the treatment of infantile hemangiomas (IHs). There is a concern that administering propranolol in newborns and infants could induce adverse effects in learning and memory processes in the long term. The purpose of this study was to assess cognitive and memory functions in children who had been treated with propranolol for IH during their infancy.

Methods: A total of 23 children between 5 and 7.5 years of age who had been treated with oral propranolol for IH during infancy were tested for cognitive functions with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) test and for memory functions with the Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL).

Results: Comparison of our sample with a normal distribution by a Shapiro-Wilk W test showed no significant difference for any of the composite scores in the WPPSI-IV and TOMAL tests except for positive asymmetry and concentration of scores around average (p = 0.01) in the WPPSI-IV composite score (mean intelligence), due to one atypically high score.

Conclusions: The distribution of scores for intelligence and memory scales in our study population was similar to that in the reference general population. These results fail to support any significant disturbance in intelligence and memory development in children treated during infancy with propranolol for IH.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Propranolol / adverse effects*
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol