(HealthDay News) — Propranolol (Inderal) appears to be effective in treating infantile hemangiomas, according to research published in the Feb. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers identified 460 infants 1 to 5 months old with infantile hemangioma. They were randomly assigned to take one of four doses of propranolol, or a placebo. After 24 weeks of treatment, the most effective dose of propranolol was 3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight daily, the researchers found.
Among infants receiving that dose, 60 percent had their birthmark disappear or nearly disappear, compared with 4 percent of babies receiving a placebo. In all, 88 percent of infants treated with propranolol showed improvement by the fifth week, compared with 5 percent of the infants given the placebo. The researchers added that one in 10 babies getting propranolol needed another round of therapy. Side effects of propranolol were rare, the researchers said. And the rate of side effects did not differ significantly between the propranolol group and the babies receiving a placebo.
“Propranolol is the first and only medical treatment approved to treat infantile hemangioma,” lead study author Christine Leaute-Labreze, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at the University of Bordeaux in France, told HealthDay.
The study was funded by Pierre Fabre Dermatologie, the French drug company that makes propranolol for infants.