Monday, 2 March 2015

The efficacy of oral propranolol to treat infantile hemangioma: a randomised controlled trial

Associate Professor Stephane Heritier has co-authored a publication with over 40 different professionals to identify the effect of oral propranolol to treat infantile hemangiomas through a randomised control trial.

Infantile hemangiomas are identified as a soft-tissue tumour affecting children with between 3-10% of infants being affected. The tumours are detected within the first six years of birth and usually follow a pattern of proliferation and sudden involution.

 Whilst a majority of cases are medically inconsequential, 12% of cases can result in the need for a referral to a specialist. There is also a risk of possible psychological impacts for the child and parents.

The authors within this study have made note of infantile hemangiomas incidents in 2008 in which oral propranolol was used as a method of treatment. The current authors mention that the use of oral propranolol as effective with further case reports and two placebo-controlled trials supporting this statement. Oral propranolol is now a preferred treatment option for infantile hemangiomas; however there are a limited number of trials to within the field. Therefore, the authors have published on a randomised placebo-controlled trial on the efficacy of oral propranolol to treat infantile hemangioma.

A randomised double-blind trial was utilised to determine the effectiveness of an oral propranolol solution to treat children aged from one to five months who were affected by infantile hemangioma. Each child was provided with either the placebo or one of the oral propranolol treatments (of which there were four) at random. The study spanned over 24 weeks with the final week determining whether the oral propranolol was successful in fully treating the hemangioma or whether it failed as a method of treatment. This was measured via blinded and independent evaluation of photographs.

The results highlighted that the use of the oral propranolol treatment was significantly more effective than the placebo with 60% of patients being successfully treated. By week five, 88% children who were given oral propranolol demonstrated progress in their condition. This is a stark contrast against the 5% of patients who were provided with the placebo. 10% of patients who were given propanol needed systemic retreatment in the follow up period.

The researchers conclude that the use propranolol is an effective method of treatment to address infantile hemangioma with a dosage of 3 mg every day for a period of six months.

Read the full paper here.

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