High Dose Oral Prednisone for Hemangiomas in Infants
Nahum Sadan, Baruch Wolach
Pediatrics Dept., Meir General Hospital, Sapir Medical Center, Kfar Saba and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University
Over a 24-year period, 62 infants (47 girls) with hemangiomas were treated with an initial dose of either 3 or 5 mg/kg/day of oral prednisone for 2 weeks, after which the dose was gradually tapered off during 6-8 weeks. Few patients required longer treatment. Results were judged to be excellent in 68% of infants and good in 25%. Treatment was considered a failure in only 7%. The initial dose of 5 mg/kg/day was more effective than the smaller dose (p<0.001). Of the 62 patients, 49 received 1 course of treatment, 8 required 2 courses and 5 required 3 courses. Retreatment was given whenever significant regrowth occurred. Side-effects were not serious, and resolved when treatment was discontinued. Treatment was indicated when the location of the lesions caused interference with important functions or when the lesions were likely to damage anatomic structures. Special attention was paid to early treatment of eye and subglottic hemangiomas. In all 22 children with hemangiomas of the eye (most with an orbital component), shrinkage of the lesion was observed within 24 hours of initiating treatment. In 19 of the 22 there was no residual of the hemangioma 1-18 years later. Such lesions deserve early treatment, not just as cosmetic emergencies, but to prevent secondary amblyopia. Early treatment of subglottic hemangiomas is also mandatory because they are potentially life- threatening. We conclude that oral prednisone is very effective in the treatment of hemangiomas of infants when given at a high dose for an adequate period of time.