Generic Name: ketorolac, Oral tablet

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SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for ketorolac

Oral tablet
1

Ketorolac is used to treat short-term moderate to severe pain in adults. You can only take it at home after your doctor gives you an injection first.

2 3

Side effects include stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and gas.

4

Ketorolac may cause serious side effects such as stomach bleeding, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. These may cause hospitalization or be fatal.

5

Don’t take ketorolac if you have kidney failure, risks for kidney failure, stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, or a history of these conditions.

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 to potentially dangerous effects.

Appropriate use warning. Ketorolac should only be used for moderate to severe pain for no more than 5 days. It should only be taken after your doctor gives your first dose through an injection.

People younger than 17 years old and those with minor or long-term pain shouldn’t use ketorolac.

The recommended dose is no more than 40 mg of ketorolac per day. Taking additional ketorolac has no extra benefit but could increase your side effects.

Surgery warning. You shouldn’t use ketorolac to prevent pain before any major surgery. Doing so could increase your risk of bleeding.

Stomach problems warning. Ketorolac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs can increase your risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, or small holes in the lining of your digestive system. These events can be fatal. They can happen at any time without symptoms. You shouldn’t use ketorolac if you have ulcers, recent stomach bleeding, or a history of ulcers or stomach bleeding. Seniors have a higher risk for serious stomach problems.

Heart risk warning. NSAIDs can increase your risk of having a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke. Your risk goes up the longer you use NSAIDs. You shouldn’t take ketorolac if you have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure.

Don’t take ketorolac before or after heart bypass surgery.

Kidney failure warning. You shouldn’t take ketorolac if you have kidney failure or are at risk for kidney failure. Ketorolac can damage your kidneys, decrease the blood flow to your kidneys, or cause dehydration.

Bleeding risk warning. Ketorolac may cause you to bleed more easily. You shouldn’t take this drug if you have bleeding in your brain, a condition that causes you to bleed heavily, a problem with your blood flow, or any other risk that may cause bleeding.

Labor and delivery warning. Ketorolac may stop labor contractions and cause problems with blood supply to your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant.

Use with other NSAIDs warning. The risk of serious side effects increases if you take ketorolac with other NSAIDs. Don’t take this drug if you’re taking other NSAIDs or aspirin.

Special populations warning. Your doctor may need to adjust your dose of ketorolac if you’re over 65 years of age, weigh less than 110 pounds, or have blood test results that show signs of impaired kidney function.

High blood pressure

Ketorolac may cause you to develop high blood pressure or make your high blood pressure worse. Your doctor may check your blood pressure before you start and while you take ketorolac.

Aspirin-sensitive asthma

Don’t use ketorolac if you have aspirin-sensitive asthma. It may cause a fatal allergic reaction.

Drug Features

Ketorolac is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs. You shouldn’t take ketorolac oral tablets as your first dose. Your doctor will give you a ketorolac injection first. You will take ketorolac for up to 5 days.

Ketorolac is available in its generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the generic will work for you.

Why It's Used

Ketorolac is used to treat moderate to severe short-term pain in adults. It should be used for no more than 5 days. It’s often used after surgery.

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). The drug works by blocking a particular enzyme in your body. When the enzyme is blocked, your body decreases the amount of inflammatory chemicals it makes. This helps to reduce inflammation and pain.

SECTION 2 of 4

ketorolac Side Effects

Oral tablet

Most Common Side Effects

The most common side effects that occur with ketorolac include:

  • stomach pain

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • gas

  • heartburn

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • dizziness

  • headache

Serious Side Effects

If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

  • heart attack. Symptoms may include:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • discomfort in your upper body
  • stroke. Symptoms may include:

    • weakness in one part or side of your body
    • slurred speech
  • high blood pressure. Symptoms may include:

    • dull headache
    • dizzy spells
    • nosebleeds
  • swelling in your arms, legs, hands and feet

  • kidney problems. Symptoms may include:

    • changes in your urine volume
    • swelling of your feet or ankles
    • shortness of breath
  • bleeding and ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Symptoms may include:

    • vomiting blood
    • blood in your stool
    • black, sticky, or tar-like stool
  • allergic and skin reactions. Symptoms include

    • rash or blisters
    • itching
    • swelling of your face or throat
  • liver problems. Symptoms may include:

    • yellowing  of your skin or whites of your eyes
    • nausea
    • fatigue
    • Itching
    • flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and tiredness
  • asthma attacks. Symptoms include:

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

Ketorolac doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Mild side effects may disappear within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if they’re more severe or don’t go away.

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.
SECTION 3 of 4

ketorolac May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Ketorolac can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. That’s why your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. If you’re curious about how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: You can reduce your chances of drug interactions by having all of your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy. That way, a pharmacist can check for possible drug interactions.

Alcohol Interaction

Alcohol can increase your risk of stomach side effects from ketorolac. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor. They may need to watch you more closely for signs of bleeding.

Medications That Might Interact with This Drug

Anticoagulant, blood thinner
  • warfarin
  • clopidogrel
  • ticlopidine
  • rivaroxaban

If you combine ketorolac with these medications, your risk of bleeding increases.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • meloxicam
  • naproxen

Taking ketorolac with other NSAIDs increases your risk of serious side effects. Don’t take ketorolac with these drugs.

Diuretics (water pills)
  • hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ)
  • furosemide

Taking these drugs with ketorolac may cause the diuretics not to work as well. It may also cause a decrease in your kidney function. You may need to watch your blood pressure, weight, and signs of swelling in your hands and feet.

Gout drug
  • probenecid

Taking probenecid can increase the levels of ketorolac in your body. This can cause more side effects. 

Bipolar disorder drug
  • lithium

Ketorolac may increase the levels of lithium in your body. This can cause more side effects from lithium. 

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
  • methotrexate

Ketorolac may increase the levels of methotrexate in your blood. This can cause more side effects from methotrexate.

Blood pressure medications
  • ACE-inhibitors
  • angiosen II receptor blockers (ARBs)

Ketorolac may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of these drugs.

Seizure medications
  • phenytoin
  • carbamazepine

Taking ketorolac with seizure medications may cause seizures. 

Blood flow drug
  • pentoxifylline

If you take both medications your risk of bleeding increases. 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • fluoxetine
  • paroxetine
  • citalopram
  • sertraline

You may have an increased risk of stomach bleeding when taking a SSRI with ketorolac.

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.

People with history of stomach ulcers or bleeding

Ketorolac can increase your risk of stomach bleeding, ulcers, or small holes in the lining of your digestive system. These events can be fatal. They can happen at any time with or without symptoms.

People with blood clotting disorders

Ketorolac may cause you to bleed more easily. If you take it and also take a medication to thin your blood, this could cause dangerous bleeding. 

People with kidney problems

If you have kidney problems or a history of kidney disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of ketorolac in your body and cause more side effects. This medication may decrease your kidney function, making your kidney disease worse.

People with asthma

This medication can cause shortness of breath in people with asthma, which can be fatal. If your asthma worsens, get emergency medical help. If you have asthma that’s sensitive to aspirin or NSAIDs, don’t take this medication at all. 

People with high blood pressure

Ketorolac may cause you to develop high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, it can make it worse.

People with heart problems

This medication can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke if you have a history of heart problems or are at risk of heart problems. If you have heart failure, this drug can make your symptoms worse.

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.

Ketorolac may have negative heart effects on your unborn baby if you take it after 30 weeks of pregnancy.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Ketorolac should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are nursing

Ketorolac may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a breastfeeding child.

Tell your doctor if you’re breastfeeding. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For Seniors

People 65 years or older should take ketorolac with caution. Seniors may have reduced kidney function. This may cause the drug to build up in your body and cause more side effects.  

For Children

The safety and effectiveness of ketorolac haven’t been established in children under the age of 17 years.  

Allergies

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

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue

Get emergency medical help if you develop these symptoms.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other NSAIDs. Taking it again could be fatal.

SECTION 4 of 4

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?

Short-term moderate to severe pain
Form: Oral Tablet
Strengths: 10 mg
Adult Dosage (ages 17-64 years)

After your doctor gives you an injection of ketorolac, you’ll take 20 mg once followed by 10 mg every 4–6 hours as needed. Don’t take more than 40 mg per day.

Child Dosage (ages 0-16 years)

A safe and effective dosage hasn’t been established in people under the age of 17 years.

Senior Dosage (ages 65 years and older)

After your doctor gives you an injection of ketorolac, you’ll take 10 mg every 4–6 hours as needed. Don’t take more than 40 mg per day.

Special Considerations

Kidney disease: After your doctor gives you an injection of ketorolac, you’ll take 10 mg every 4–6 hours as needed. Don’t take more than 40 mg per day.

People who weigh less than 110 pounds: After your doctor gives you an injection of ketorolac, you’ll take 10 mg every 4–6 hours as needed. Don’t take more than 40 mg per day.

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 or Don’t Take It on Schedule

If you stop taking ketorolac, miss doses, or don’t take it on schedule, you may experience more pain.

If You Take Too Much

If you take too much, you may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and feeling very tired. You’ll also be at a higher risk for stomach problems and bleeding. If you think you’ve taken too much, get medical help. 

What to Do If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. However, make sure you wait at least 4 hours before taking the next scheduled dose.

Don’t double a dose to try to catch up. You could have much worse side effects.

How to Tell If the Drug Is Working

You may be able to tell this drug is working if you notice a decrease in pain.

Ketorolac is a short-term drug treatment.

You shouldn’t use it for more than 5 days.

Important Considerations for Taking Ketorolac
take with or without food Take with or without food. Taking it with food may help to reduce upset stomach
timing Take ketorolac every 4–6 hours. Don't take it more often
storage Store in temperatures from 68–77°F (20–25°C) See Details
luggage Travel See Details
clinical monitoring Clinical Monitoring See Details

Store in temperatures from 68–77°F (20–25°C)

Don’t freeze ketorolac.

Keep it away from light and high temperatures.

Note: Keep your drugs away from areas where they could get wet, such as bathrooms. Store these drugs away from moisture and damp locations.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry it with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport X-ray machines. They can’t hurt this medication.
  • You may need to show your pharmacy’s preprinted label to identify the medication. Keep the original prescription-labeled bottle with you when traveling.

Clinical Monitoring

Clinical monitoring isn’t usually needed. However, you should watch for signs of stomach ulcers or bleeding, such as blood in your stool or stool that is black and sticky like tar. These serious side effects can occur without warning.

What does the pill look like?

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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.


Show Sources

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 May 27, 2015

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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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