BACKGROUND: Despite not being licensed for the treatment of infantile hemangiomas (IH) in infants younger than 5 weeks or older than 5 months, propranolol is often used in these age groups to prevent or to treat potentially severe complications. The objective of the present study was to review the experience of 8 Italian pediatric and dermatologic centers regarding propranolol treatment for IH started before 5 weeks or after 5 months of age.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients followed up for IH, on propranolol treatment started before 5 weeks or after 5 months of age, and collected information on sociodemographic data, treatment indications, IH involution, IH relapse, and treatment side effects.
RESULTS: A total of 343 patients were enrolled; 15 were started on propranolol before 5 weeks (group 1), 328 were started after 5 months of age (group 2). The most frequent indications were permanent aesthetical disfigurement (91.8%) and function threatening complications (42.6%). In most cases, the treatment was effective. The involution was partial in 67.7% of patients. In 11.8% of cases a relapse was observed. No relapse was observed in group 1. Treatment complications were reported in 15.8% of children, most frequently sleep disorders (6.6%), followed by irritability (5.1%) and diarrhea (2.2%). Only a case of mild constipation was observed in group 1.
CONCLUSION: The safety and effectiveness profile of propranolol in infants younger than 5 weeks or older than 5 months may be acceptable. Taking in account propranolol's potential in preventing severe complications, further studies should assess the acceptability of propranolol treatment, especially in the <5-week age group .
- Journal Article