Topical timolol as adjunct therapy to shorten oral propranolol therapy for infantile hemangiomas

Diana B. Mannschreck, Amy H. Huang, Erina Lie, Kevin Psoter, Katherine Brown Puttgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background/Objectives: First-line therapy for infantile hemangiomas (IH) is oral propranolol, a systemic beta-blocker with the risk of rare but serious adverse effects. Topical timolol presents an attractive off-label alternative with good tolerability, but sequential therapy with propranolol followed by timolol is not well studied. Here, we report effects of topical timolol preceding or following oral propranolol as adjunct therapy for IH. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 559 patients with IH seen at the pediatric dermatology clinic of a tertiary care center between December 2008 and January 2018. Children were grouped by treatment received: propranolol only, timolol only, propranolol to timolol, timolol to propranolol to timolol, and timolol to propranolol. Patient demographics, clinical/treatment characteristics, and pairwise differences were explored between groups. Results: Among all patients treated with propranolol, those who received propranolol followed by timolol received the shortest duration of oral propranolol and were the youngest at the time of propranolol completion. These patients received propranolol for a median of 2.2 months duration (P = 0.006) and were a median of 1.7 months younger (P = 0.007) compared with patients who received oral propranolol only. None had treatment failure defined as requiring propranolol reinitiation, compared with 13% of patients in the propranolol only group (P = 0.036). Conclusions: Sequential therapy with oral propranolol followed by topical timolol for IH may help minimize potential adverse effects of systemic beta-blockers by reducing the duration of propranolol therapy and facilitating successful taper at a younger age without an increase in treatment failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Dermatology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • infantile hemangioma
  • propranolol
  • timolol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Topical timolol as adjunct therapy to shorten oral propranolol therapy for infantile hemangiomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this