Systemic (internal) treatments:
For larger or more aggressive hemangiomas, treatment usually consists of an oral medication, particularly an oral form of prednisolone (steroid) or oral propranolol, to prevent complications.
The use of propranolol – a medication normally used for treating high blood pressure - for hemangiomas was first reported in 2008. Propranolol has been reported to stop hemangiomas from growing and causing actual shrinkage of hemangiomas. Studies are underway to determine the safety and efficacy of this treatment option. Potential side effects include low blood sugar, slowing of the heart rate, and lowering of blood pressure. Patients with asthma should not be treated with this medication.
Oral corticosteroids (usually prednisolone) have been used for more than 40 years to treat hemangiomas. They are quite effective at stopping hemangioma growth and actually shrink hemangiomas in approximately 30% of cases. Oral steroids have many potential side effects which can be discussed with your provider. They are typically given for several months and toward the end of treatment the dosage is gradually reduced.