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Propranolol therapy and infantile haemangiomas fact sheet

Propranolol therapy and infantile haemangiomas

Infantile haemangiomas are common vascular anomalies that occur in approximately five per cent of all infants. They often appear a few weeks after birth and can grow rapidly for the first six – 12 months of life. Most Infantile haemangiomas gradually resolve over several years without any treatment required, but for more complex cases, propranolol therapy is offered at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

What is propranolol?

Propranolol is a beta-blocker, normally used in the treatment of high blood pressure. Low dose oral propranolol is increasingly used in the treatment of complex infantile haemangiomas with good results.

How does it work?

Propranolol reduces the growth of blood vessels within the haemangioma. This often results in reduced colour, size and firmness of infantile haemangiomas.

How do I give propranolol?

You will need your propranolol script made up in a specialised compounding pharmacy. The easiest option will be to have it made up here at the Queensland Children’s Hospital pharmacy on Level 2. Once the propranolol has been compounded, it will be in a liquid format. This makes it easy to measure into an oral syringe and then given to your child. Propranolol should be given as prescribed. Your treating specialist will provide you with more information regarding this.

What are the side effects?

The low dose of propranolol that is prescribed for the treatment of infantile haemangiomas at the Queensland Children’s Hospital has shown its effectiveness and is regarded as safe for use in infants and children. The pharmacist at the Queensland Children’s Hospital will discuss a detailed list of possible side effects with you. If you believe your child is experiencing any side effects, please notify your treating team.

Regular appointments

It is important that you attend your scheduled appointments while your child is taking propranolol. Staff will need to weigh your child during your visit, as propranolol scripts are ordered according to current weight.

Contact us

Vascular Anomalies Clinic (3b)
Level 3, Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t:  07 3068 2830 (business hours)
t:  07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resource No: FS304. Developed by Burns. Updated: April 2018. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.