The use of propranolol and timolol for treatment of infantile hemangiomas is not new news to most of us, based on the many case reports and subsequent clinical trials that herald its success as a treatment agent for this problem. What we also see on occasion are case reports and study results that suggest there can be some serious and not so serious adverse effects of using propranolol in these patients. So just what are these side effects and how common are they? Leaute-Labreze et al (10.1542/peds.2016-0353) decided to address these questions by performing a systematic review to better determine the safety profile of propranolol when used for this purpose in a review article being released this week.
The authors looked for studies that included at least ten treated patients and then reported on at least one adverse event. More than 80 studies met review criteria involving more than 5800 infants treated and more than 1999 adverse events. Just what those events were (and how severe) forms the basis of the review. The benefits of reading this review are that you will be more apt to prescreen infants who might be identified in advance as being at risk for an adverse side effect of the drug rather than increase their risk of having an adverse event by simply using it.
This study makes its mark on when to use and not use propranolol or another beta-blocker to treat infant hemangiomas—and will hopefully prevent you from turning red from an adverse event occurring that you might have prevented by not using the drug in certain clinical situations. Read this study and learn more.