Medical Therapy for Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations

At New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE), our specialists have extensive experience treating vascular birthmarks with a range of medications, including the following:

Propranolol

Used for many years in cardiac patients, propranolol is a recent “discovery” that has been shown to be successful in reducing or even reversing the growth rate of hemangiomas, particularly in patients with flat or segmental hemangiomas. Because of the possible cardiac side effects, this medication should only be given while under the care of a pediatric cardiologist or other birthmark specialist. For early, superficial hemangiomas, a topical form of propranolol (Timolol) may be prescribed.

Steroids 

Steroids were often used in the past to reduce the rate of hemangioma growth, particularly during the first few months of life. With the current use of propranolol, oral steroids are rarely given anymore. However, for large, compound hemangiomas, a steroid injection into the substance of the hemangioma can often result in significant shrinkage and minimize the effects of rapid growth.

Vincristine 

This type of chemotherapeutic agent has also been shown to be effective in treating patients with multiple or large hemangiomas or hemangioendotheliomas. Although rarely used, if indicated, this medication requires the placement of a central line for intravenous administration, and should be discussed with a pediatric hematologist oncologist.