Ketorolac | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

ketorolac, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Toradol (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for ketorolac

Oral tablet
1

Ketorolac comes in the form of an oral tablet, an ophthalmic solution (eye drops), and a nasal spray.

2

Ketorolac tablets are used for the short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain.

3

The tablets are available as generic drugs. They’re not available in a brand-name version.

4

The more common side effects of ketorolac tablets can include stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, or nausea.

5

You shouldn’t take ketorolac if you’ve ever had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergic reaction to aspirin or to any other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Length of treatment warning. Ketorolac tablets shouldn’t be taken for longer than 5 days. They should be given only after your doctor gives your first dose of the medication through a needle in your vein or injected into your muscle.

Usage warning. Ketorolac tablets shouldn’t be used in:

  • children (ages 17 years or younger)
  • people with minor pain or long-term painful conditions

High dosage warning. Doses higher than 40 mg of ketorolac per day increase the risk of side effects and don’t give better pain control.

Pain prevention warning. You shouldn’t use ketorolac to prevent pain before any major surgery.

Stomach problems warning. Taking ketorolac raises your risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, or small holes in the lining of your digestive system. All of these effects can be fatal (cause death). These effects may occur at any time and without any warning symptoms. You’re at greater risk of these effects if you’re a senior (aged 65 years or older). You cannot use ketorolac if you currently have ulcers, recent stomach bleeding, or history of ulcers or stomach bleeding.

Heart risks warning. Ketorolac is not recommended if you have heart disease or risks for heart disease. It raises your risk of a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke, all of which may be fatal (cause death). Ketorolac should not be taken before or after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. This is surgery to improve blood flow to the heart. Your risk of heart problems is increased with longer use of this drug.

Kidney problems warning. You shouldn’t take ketorolac if you have kidney failure or are at risk of kidney failure due to dehydration (low fluid levels in the body).

Bleeding risk warning. You shouldn’t take ketorolac if you have any high-risk condition that may cause bleeding. These include bleeding in the brain, any condition that causes heavy bleeding, or any problem with blood flow.

Labor and delivery warning. Ketorolac may stop contractions and cause problems delivering the blood supply to your baby.

Use with other NSAIDs warning. The risk of side effects is increased if you take ketorolac with other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Special populations warning. Dosage adjustments may be needed if you:

  • are 65 years or older,
  • weigh less than 110 pounds, or
  • have blood test results that show signs of muscle breakdown.

High blood pressure

Ketorolac may cause high blood pressure, or may worsen high blood pressure if you already have it. If you have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. If your doctor decides that it is, they will monitor your blood pressure during your treatment with this drug.

Asthma or sensitivity to NSAIDs

Talk with your doctor if you have asthma, or if you’ve had an allergic reaction to aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Ask whether ketorolac tablets are safe for you. Ketorolac may cause your airways to narrow, which could lead to death. If your asthma or other breathing problems get worse while you take this drug, tell your doctor right away or call 9-1-1.

What is ketorolac?

Ketorolac tablets are a prescription drug. You take them by mouth.

Ketorolac tablets aren’t available as a brand-name drug. They’re available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. 

Ketorolac tablets may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take them with other medications.

Why it's used

Ketorolac tablets are used for short-term treatment (up to 5 days) of moderate to severe pain.

How it works

Ketorolac belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

More Details

How it works

Ketorolac belongs to a class of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. 

Ketorolac works by blocking the production of certain chemicals that cause inflammation in your body. This helps to reduce swelling, irritation, and pain.

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ketorolac Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of ketorolac tablets include:

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • gas

  • heartburn

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • dizziness

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Chest pain

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:

    • pain or pressure in the chest, neck, back, or arms
    • tiredness
    • abnormal heartbeat
  • Stroke. Symptoms can include:

    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • High blood pressure

  • Swelling in the arms, legs, hands, or feet

  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure and low red blood cells. Symptoms can include:

    • feeling tired
    • feeling weaker than usual
  • Bleeding and ulcers in the stomach and intestine. Symptoms can include:

    • vomiting blood
    • stool that contains blood, or is black and sticky, like tar
  • Allergic and skin reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • rash or blisters
    • itching
    • swelling of the face or throat
  • Liver problems. Symptoms can include:

    • yellowing of your skin
    • yellowing of the whites of your eyes
  • Asthma attacks. Symptoms can include:

    • shortness of breath
    • trouble breathing
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Ketorolac tablets don’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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ketorolac May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Ketorolac can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking this drug raises your risk of stomach side effects, such as bleeding or ulcers. Your doctor should monitor you closely for bleeding if you drink alcohol while taking ketorolac.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Antidepressants (SSRIs)

Using ketorolac with certain antidepressants raises your risk of stomach bleeding. These drugs are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Examples of these drugs include:

  • citalopram
  • escitalopram
  • fluoxetine
  • fluvoxamine
  • paroxetine
  • sertraline

Blood thinners

When ketorolac is used with medications that thin the blood, the risk of bleeding is increased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • heparin
  • warfarin

Circulation drugs

Pentoxifylline is used to help prevent cramps and pain in the legs from walking or exercising. Taking ketorolac with this drug raises your risk of bleeding.

Diuretics (water pills)

When used with ketorolac, diuretics may not work as well. This means they may not control your blood pressure, or any other condition they’re being used to treat. Also, your kidneys may not work as well. If you take these drugs together, you may need to monitor your blood pressure, weight, and signs of swelling in your hands and feet. Examples of diuretics include: 

  • chlorthalidone
  • furosemide
  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • indapamide
  • metolazone

Gout drugs

Probenecid is used to treat symptoms of gout. When it’s used with ketorolac, the levels of ketorolac in your body are increased. You shouldn’t take probenecid with ketorolac.

High blood pressure drugs

When used with ketorolac, certain blood pressure medications may not work as well. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as:
    • benazepril
    • captopril
    • enalapril
    • fosinopril
    • lisinopril
    • moexipril
    • quinapril
    • ramipril
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as:
    • candesartan
    • irbesartan
    • losartan
    • telmisartan
    • valsartan

Mood stabilizers (lithium)

Lithium is used to treat certain mood disorders. Taking lithium with ketorolac can increase the level of lithium in your body. This raises your risk of side effects from lithium. These can include vomiting, seizures, or coma.

Pain and inflammation drugs (NSAIDs)

When ketorolac is used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), there is increased risk of stomach side effects. Using these drugs together isn’t recommended. Examples of NSAIDs include: 

  • aspirin
  • diclofenac
  • etodolac
  • flurbiprofen
  • ibuprofen
  • indomethacin
  • ketoprofen
  • meloxicam
  • nabumetone
  • naproxen
  • piroxicam
  • sulindac

Seizure drugs

Using ketorolac with certain seizure medications may cause seizures. Examples of these seizure drugs include: 

  • carbamazepine
  • phenytoin

Other drugs

Methotrexate is used to treat several conditions, such as arthritis and certain types of cancer. When it’s used with ketorolac, the levels of methotrexate in your blood may increase. This raises your risk of side effects from methotrexate.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Ketorolac warnings
stomach ulcers or bleeding
People with a history of stomach ulcers or stomach bleeding

Ketorolac can cause bleeding, ulcers, or tears to your stomach or intestines. This can be fatal (cause death). This damage can occur at any time, without any warning symptoms. You cannot use ketorolac if you currently have ulcers, have had recent stomach bleeding, or have a history of ulcers or stomach bleeding.

kidney problems
People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to clear ketorolac from your body. This can cause increased levels of ketorolac in your body, and raise your risk of side effects. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Ketorolac can worsen liver function. This is especially true if you already have liver problems. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

asthma
People with asthma or sensitivity to NSAIDs

If you have asthma and have had a reaction to aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the past, you’re at increased risk of serious breathing problems. These problems could cause death. Talk with your doctor about whether ketorolac is safe for you. 

high blood pressure
People with high blood pressure

Ketorolac may worsen your high blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

heart problems
People with heart failure and edema (swelling)

Ketorolac may increase fluid buildup in your body. Talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

pregnant woman
Pregnant women

Ketorolac is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Ketorolac will pass into breast milk. It isn’t known what effect this can have on a child who is breast-fed. 

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You should decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

children
For children

The safety and effectiveness of ketorolac tablets in children younger than 17 years haven’t been established.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call the doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Ketorolac can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take ketorolac (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Moderate to severe pain

Generic: ketorolac

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 17–64 years)

After your doctor gives you ketorolac through a needle in your vein or injected into your muscle, your dosage may be as follows.

  • The typical dosage is 20 mg once, followed by 10 mg every 4–6 hours as needed.
  • You shouldn’t take more than 40 mg per day.
  • The total length of treatment should be no more than 5 days.
Child dosage (ages 0–16 years)

The safety and effectiveness of ketorolac tablets in children below the age of 17 years haven’t been established. They shouldn’t be used in people younger than 17 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

After your doctor gives you ketorolac through a needle in your vein or injected into your muscle, your dosage may be as follows.

  • The typical dosage is 10 mg taken every 4–6 hours as needed.
  • You shouldn’t take more than 40 mg per day.
  • The total length of treatment should be no more than 5 days.
Special considerations

After your doctor gives you ketorolac through a needle in your vein or injected into your muscle, your dosage may be as follows.

People with kidney problems:  

  • The typical dosage is 10 mg taken every 4–6 hours as needed.
  • You shouldn’t take more than 40 mg per day.
  • The total length of treatment should be no more than 5 days. 

Adults who weigh less than 110 pounds:

  • The typical dosage is 10 mg taken every 4–6 hours as needed.
  • You shouldn’t take more than 40 mg per day.
  • The total length of treatment should be no more than 5 days.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Ketorolac comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

You may have more pain.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

If you take too much ketorolac, you could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • vomiting and severe pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • high blood pressure
  • breathing or kidney problems

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have less pain.

Ketorolac is used for short-term treatment.

The length of treatment for this drug is 5 days or less.

Important considerations for taking ketorolac
take with or without food
You can take ketorolac tablets with or without food
timing
Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
Don’t cut or crush
Don’t cut or crush the tablets
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
medication is refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
luggage
Travel
See Details
Self-management
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Insurance
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store ketorolac tablets at a temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).  
  • Don’t freeze this medication.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You shouldn’t need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription. However, because treatment is limited to 5 days, you’ll likely not need refills.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

You shouldn’t take ketorolac oral tablets as your first dose. Your doctor will give you the first dose of ketorolac either through a needle in your vein or injected into your muscle. After your doctor gives you the first dose, you’ll take ketorolac tablets for up to 5 days.  

Clinical monitoring

You should watch for symptoms of stomach ulcers or bleeding. Symptoms can include blood in your stool, or stool that is black and sticky, like tar. Sometimes, these serious side effects can occur without warning.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does ketorolac Cost?

Oral tablet

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 17, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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