4-Mar-15 4:00 PM  CST

Old Drug Shows May Be Effective for Clearing Up “Strawberry” Marks

A new study published in the February 19th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine shows that an “old” drug, propranolol is effective in treating infantile hemangiomas, which are more commonly known as “Strawberry” birthmarks, due to their color and shape. Infantile, hemangiomas are common in approximately 3-10% infant births and while the birthmark is generally harmless, they can be psychologically and physically damaging to those who have them, especially if the mark is easily visible.

In 2014 the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved propranolol, whose recognizable brand name is Inderal, as a treatment for infantile hemangiomas. Caused by an abnormal build up of blood vessels “Strawberry” birthmarks, which often appear red and rubbery, are treated with propranolol by starving the hemangiomas. If the hemangiomas has no blood supply it cannot continue to grow and in time, dies and fades away.

Physicians and researchers state that if the hemangiomas is close the eyes, nose, mouth or ear long term issues related to the child’s physical functions may take place and should be treated sooner than later.  The study referenced in the New England Journal of Medicine, followed 460 infants who took either a placebo or one of four doses of propranolol. The infants ranged in age from 1 to 5 months. The most effective dose for treatment after a 24-week period was 3mg per kilograms of body weight given as a once a day dosing.

Hemangiomas in 60% of the infants participating in the study compared to those taking a placebo, disappeared or nearly disappeared when using the most effective dose of propranolol, 3mg per kilograms of body weight. 88% of the infants in the study saw improvement of their hemangiomas in as little as 5 weeks when compared to those who took the placebo.

 

 

Resources:

 

 

Reinberg, S. (2015), “Heart Drug Clears Up “Strawberry” Birthmarks”, WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20150218/heart-drug-clears-up-strawberry-birthmarks, retrieved, 28.February, 2015

 

TestingTreatments.org, (2015), “A New Treatment for Strawberry Birthmarks”, http://www.testingtreatments.org/tt-main-text/dealing-with-uncertainty-about-the-effects-of-treatments/dramatic-treatment-effects-rare-and-readily-recognizable/a-new-treatment-for-strawberry-birthmarks/, retrieved, 28. February 2015

 


For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Kelley Simmons
 
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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