Off Label Use of Propranolol for Infancy Hemangiomas (PIHS)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Carsten Engelmann, Hannover Medical School Identifier:
First received: September 28, 2010
Last updated: November 9, 2014
Last verified: November 2014

Propranolol use for infancy hemangiomas is of world wide interest due to low cost and presumed efficacy. The investigators hypothesized that the drug ist highly active against growing hemangiomas in problematic sites and that there are little side effects.

This observational study was undertaken in an uncontrolled fashion to determine sample size, design and and tools for a later randomized controlled trial on propranolol versus physical therapy (i.e.cryotherapy) which is the most prevalent treatment for the condition. During this initial series side effects and relevant design aspects became evident which warrant expedited reporting.

Condition Intervention
Drug: Propranolol

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Open-label, Uncontrolled Study of the Off Label Use of Propranolol for Infancy Hemangiomas to Identify Side Effects

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Hannover Medical School:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Cosmesis of the lesion and surrounding skin [ Time Frame: Completed 8 months of life ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Post treatment cosmetic and defiguration result with a hemangioma specific rating tool for categorical (color, vascularity, height, matte/shiny) and non-categorical data (visual analogue scale for overall appearance) from the Vancouver Burn Scar Scale, the Manchester Scar Scale and the Hamilton Burn scar scale by 3 examiners.

  • Side effects [ Time Frame: Completed 8th month of life ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Number of Participants with Adverse Events in the cardiovascular, bronchopulmonary and metabolic system as a Measure of Safety and Tolerability

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • hemangioma size [ Time Frame: completed 8 th month of life ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Size is measured with calipers and ultrasound

Enrollment: 72
Study Start Date: August 2008
Study Completion Date: October 2013
Primary Completion Date: October 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Groups/Cohorts Assigned Interventions
Threatening hemangioma
The group with cosmetically threatening of functionally threatening hemangiomas warranting active treatment according to our usual criteria (location face, hands, feet with a strong growth tendency and below age of 8 months)
Drug: Propranolol
Propranolol 2mg/kg/day divided to three oral doses with or without concomitant physical therapy (cryotherapy, laser)

Detailed Description:

Treatment modalities: The investigators employed the "best-guess"-dose from the literature at 2 mg/kg/day divided into three daily oral administrations. Individualized capsules were manufactured from Propranolol tablets by the hospital pharmacies and dissolved in sweetened tea before use. Treatment was started at 1mg/kg/day and routinely increased after 24 hrs. or later when three subsequent doses had been tolerated without bradycardia (< 70 bpm when sleeping) or other unwanted events. No other medical treatment was admitted. Physical treatment (cryotherapy, interstitial laser) was administered in parallel to propranolol in 16 patients with threatening hemangiomas (severe impediments to function or cosmesis requiring immediate reduction).

Surveillance and adverse event (AE) reporting:

Pretreatment monitoring included a 24 hr ECG (in KKB a 2 minute rhythm strip), pulse, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and echocardiography. All patients were kept at a cardiac monitor. Blood pressure was monitored 6 hourly and blood glucose was assayed twice with each new dose at one hour after drug ingestion. If the patient has had 3 full doses the investigators repeated the 24 hr ECG and the echocardiography. Bradycardia and Hypotension events were defined according to the age dependent standards , Side effects/adverse events were defined according to ICH guidelines and screened for as events leading to either a physician contract and a medical measure (dose reduction, ß-mimetic or other medication).

Lesion evaluation:

Hemangioma size was measured with calipers before and after the completed therapy at the end of the 8th month of life. Thickness was checked with a 7.5 mHz linear array pediatric probe.

For evaluation of their cosmesis the lesions were documented with 2 photos each (white balanced flash and ambiance light) before and after treatment (standardized to 30 cm distance, circa 2 Mb resolution). Images were shown at the same week to 3 examiners being unaware whether images were taken pre- or post treatment. This was repeated twice at two weeks interval. As there is no validated hemangioma specific assessment tool a rating form was compiled in an expert discussion from validated scar and burns scales: Categorical items included "Vascularity" and "Height" from the Vancouver Scar Scale , "Irregularity" from the Hamilton burn scar rating form for photographic analysis and the "matte/shiny" classification from the Manchester Scar Scale . A 10 cm plastic surgery visual analogue scale provided non-categorical data on overall appearance.


Ages Eligible for Study:   1 Month to 8 Months
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
Tertiary and Secondary Pediatric Surgery Referral unit Secondary Care Pediatrics Unit

Inclusion Criteria:

Infants with "problematic" true infantile hemangiomas (potentially disfiguring hemangiomas in the face, functional threatening hemangiomas of hands, feet, genitalia)> 4 weeks and < 8 months of age.

Exclusion Criteria:

"Uncomplicated" Hemangiomas (trunk, extremities), infants with heart disease, known arrhythmias, bronchoobstructive disease, known hypoglycaemia events.

  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01211080

Pediatric Surgery, Hannover Medical School
Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany, 30625
Kinderzentrum Klinikum Hildesheim
Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, Germany, 31134
Pediatric Surgery, Kinderkrankenhaus Bult
Hannover, Germany, 30173
Sponsors and Collaborators
Hannover Medical School
Principal Investigator: Carsten R Engelmann, MD PhD Hannover Medical School
Study Director: Benno M Ure, Prof. Hannover Medical School
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Carsten Engelmann, Oberarzt, Hannover Medical School Identifier: NCT01211080     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: AB 3
Study First Received: September 28, 2010
Last Updated: November 9, 2014
Health Authority: Germany: Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices
Germany:Bezirksregierung Hannover, Lower Saxony

Keywords provided by Hannover Medical School:
infancy hemangioma
study design
side effects

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Neoplasms, Vascular Tissue
Adrenergic Agents
Adrenergic Antagonists
Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
Antihypertensive Agents
Cardiovascular Agents
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Neurotransmitter Agents
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Therapeutic Uses
Vasodilator Agents processed this record on November 25, 2015