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Journal

Treatment of infantile haemangiomas with atenolol: Comparison with a historical propranolol group

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Published:25th Mar 2020

Propranolol, a lipophilic non-selective beta-blocker, has proven to be effective in the treatment of infantile haemangioma (IH). However, several side effects have been reported. Atenolol, a hydrophilic selective beta-1 blocker, could be an alternative and associated with fewer side effects.

Thirty consecutive patients with IH were treated with atenolol between June 2010 and May 2011. The therapeutic effect was judged by clinical assessment and quantified by using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and the Haemangioma Activity Score (HAS). Side effects were also evaluated. The atenolol cohort was compared with a previously described cohort of 28 patients treated with propranolol between July 2008 and December 2009.

Clinical involution was present in 90% (27/30) of the IH patients treated with atenolol. Mild side effects occurred in 40% (12/30) of these patients and severe side effects occurred in 3% (1/30). Compared with the previously described cohort treated with propranolol, mild side effects occurred in 50% (14/28) and severe side effects in 25% (7/28) of the patients (p = 0.04). Quantitative improvement of the IH in the atenolol group (n = 27) showed no significant difference in either the VAS score or the HAS compared to the propranolol group (n = 24).

This study indicates that atenolol is effective in the treatment of IH. Compared with a historical control group treated with propranolol, the effects of atenolol seem to be similar and less frequently associated with severe side effects. Randomised clinical trials are necessary to evaluate the efficacy and safety of atenolol treatment in IH.

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