Propanolol treatment of malignant/harmful hemangiomas

As of June 2008 new medication for the treatment of harmful hemangiomas became available: propanolol. This followed the publication of an article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Propanolol is a beta blocker, which is a medicine to reduce blood pressure. A quite large amount of experience has been gained following its prescription to adults, but also to children and babies with a heart condition. Propanolol reduces growth of hemangiomas when administered before the age of 4 to 6 months and constitutes a very effective treatment. By now our centre in Nijmegen has acquired broad experience in the treatment of children with propanolol, as did other centres worldwide. In the short term the result/side-effect ratio is favorable. (good results; few side-effects). So far, there has been no cause for concern about the long-term safety of this medicine. Additional research will have to determine whether this can be concluded with more certainty. For this reason, Hecovan decided, in conjunction with other centres for hemangioma treatment, to limit propanolol treatment to harmful hemangiomas. To this end, a fixed protocol was put in place. This treatment is set in motion once the patient is admitted to hospital (Friday thru Monday), whilst under the supervision of a pediatrician. Administering propanolol is gradually scaled down after a while and brought to a stop at the age of 9 to 15 months. Possibly less harmful hemangiomas will also qualify for propanolol treatment in the future, when more knowledge is available about its effects and side-effects. Click here to find information for parents about hemangioma treatment with propanolol.

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