Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-26-2011


Purpose: Oral propranolol has become a promising treatment of capillary hemangiomas (CHs) despite concerns of side effects associated with systemic beta-blockers. The objective of this study was to investigate the distribution of propranolol in periocular tissues and in plasma after topical application of propranolol as compared with intravenous and oral administration of propranolol.

Methods: Each rabbit received propranolol as ophthalmic solution (1%) in one eye (1.5 mg dose), intravenous injection (1.5 mg dose), or commercially available propranolol oral solution (5 mg dose). The periocular tissues (e.g., eyelids and extraocular muscles) and blood were collected and assayed for propranolol.

Results:After topical instillation of 1.5 mg propranolol, high amounts of propranolol were rapidly delivered to the eyelids and extraocular muscles (4−32 μg/g at 1 h after dosing). The drug in these tissues was slowly cleared, and significant amounts of the drug (>0.4 μg/g) were still present at 24 h after the topical application. After oral administration of a clinically relevant dose of 5 mg propranolol, the drug concentrations in the periocular tissues were relatively low (

Conclusions: Topical administration can provide increased concentrations of propranolol in the periocular tissues and, thus, is superior to systemic administration for the treatment of periocular CH.


This is a copy of an article published in the JOURNAL OF OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; JOURNAL OF OCULAR PHARMACOLOGY AND THERAPEUTICS is available online at: The article version of record is available from the publisher at