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Ketorolac (Toradol) for Pain: Side Effects, Dosage & Use

What is ketorolac-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Ketorolac is a member of a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are used for treating inflammation and pain. Other drugs in this class include ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), but ketorolac is more effective than other NSAIDs in reducing pain from both inflammatory and non-inflammatory causes. Ketorolac reduces the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that cells of the immune system make that cause the redness, fever, and pain of inflammation and that also are believed to be important in the production of non-inflammatory pain.
    • It does this by blocking the enzymes that cells use to make prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase 1 and 2). As a result, pain as well as inflammation and its signs and symptoms, redness, swelling, fever, and pain, are reduced.
  • The FDA approved ketorolac in November 1989.

Is ketorolac-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for ketorolac-oral?


What are the uses for ketorolac-oral?

  • Ketorolac is used for short-term management (up to 5 days) of moderately severe acute pain that otherwise would require narcotics.
  • It should not be used for minor or chronic painful conditions.

What are the side effects of ketorolac-oral?

Common side effects from ketorolac include:

Rare side effects of ketorolac include:

Serious side effects of ketorolac include:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Liver failure

Other serious adverse events include:

  • NSAIDs reduce the ability of blood to clot and therefore increase bleeding after an injury. Ketorolac may cause ulcers and bleeding in the stomach and intestines, particularly with use for more than five days. Sometimes, stomach ulceration and intestinal bleeding can occur without any abdominal pain. Sometimes, the only signs or symptoms of bleeding may be:
  • NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients with preexisting impairment of kidney function or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be done cautiously.
  • Liver failure has also been associated with ketorolac.
  • People who are allergic to aspirin and other NSAIDs should not use ketorolac.
  • Individuals with asthma or nasal polyps are more likely to experience allergic reactions to NSAIDs.


Medically speaking, the term “myalgia” refers to what type of pain?
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What is the dosage for ketorolac-oral?

  • Treatment should be started with ketorolac injection.
  • Tablets are used only if treatment is continued after patients begin to eat and drink.
  • The total duration of therapy should not exceed 5 days because of the potential for gastrointestinal bleeding and other side effects.
  • The recommended adult intravenous single dose is 15 to 60 mg.
  • Multiple intravenous doses of 15 or 30 mg every 6 hours, not to exceed 60 or 120 mg a day, also may be used.
  • Following intravenous therapy, the recommended dose is 1 (10 mg) or 2 (20 mg) tablets initially followed by 1 (10 mg) tablet every 4-6 hours, not to exceed 40 mg daily.
  • The smaller dose is used for patients with poor kidney function or those older than 65 years.
  • Oral ketorolac is not approved for individuals less than 17 years of age.

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Which drugs or supplements interact with ketorolac-oral?

  • Probenecid (Benemid) should not be combined with ketorolac because it reduces the elimination of ketorolac by the kidneys. This may lead to increased levels of ketorolac in the body and increased side effects from ketorolac.
  • Ketorolac may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) by reducing the elimination of lithium by the kidneys. Increased levels of lithium may lead to lithium toxicity.
  • Concomitant use of ketorolac and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may reduce the function of the kidneys.
  • Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants for example, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), should avoid ketorolac because ketorolac also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding.

Is ketorolac-oral safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • There are no adequate studies in pregnant women. Ketorolac should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. NSAIDs may cause cardiovascular side effects during late pregnancy.
  • Ketorolac should not be used by nursing mothers because it is excreted in breast milk.

What else should I know about ketorolac-oral?

What preparations of ketorolac-oral are available?

  • Tablets: 10 mg;
  • Injection: 15 and 30 mg/ml.
How should I keep ketorolac-oral stored?

  • Tablets should be stored at 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
  • Injectable solution should be stored at 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F) and protected from light.

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