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Propranolol Versus Corticosteroids

What Should Be the Treatment of Choice in Infantile Hemangiomas?

Theunissen, Carla I.J.M. MD*; Smitt, J. Henk Sillevis MD, PhD; van der Horst, Chantal M.A.M. MD, PhD*

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e318299cd4e
Research
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Background Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are common and benign vascular tumors and usually involute spontaneously. Nevertheless, in some cases, treatment with systemic corticosteroids or propranolol is required. No randomized controlled studies, in which both treatment options were compared, have been performed.

Methods A systematic literature review and a retrospective cohort study in the Academic Medical Centre of 56 patients (mean age, 5.5 months; range, 0–40 months; SD, 7.6) with IHs were carried out. These patients were treated with either systemic corticosteroids or propranolol. The outcomes of both treatment options were evaluated and compared.

Results The literature review showed that propranolol resulted in an involution in 100% of the patients, whereas corticosteroids only reached involution in 89%. The mean first response of the IH to propranolol was 3.2 days and of corticosteroids was 8.5 days. In our study sample, the patients treated with propranolol showed a faster and better response than the patients treated with corticosteroids. This is in line with literature findings.

Conclusions Systemic propranolol treatment is more effective for IHs than systemic corticosteroid treatment. Secondly, propranolol elicits a faster response than corticosteroids.

From the *Departments of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and†Dermatology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Received December 28, 2012, and accepted for publication, after revision, May 1, 2013.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Carla I.J.M. Theunissen, MD, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Suite G4-226, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 22700, 1100 DD Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: carlatheunissen25@hotmail.com

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