Ketorolac vs ketoprofen Uses Dosage Side Effects Differences

Ketorolac vs. ketoprofen

Ketorolac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for short-term management of severe acute pain that could otherwise require narcotics. It should not be used for minor or chronic pain. Ketorolac is more effective than other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, in reducing pain. It works by reducing the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that cause redness, fever, and pain. Ketorolac blocks the enzymes cyclooxygenase 1 and 2, resulting in reduced signs and symptoms of pain, inflammation, redness, swelling, and fever.

Ketoprofen is also an NSAID used for managing the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and primary dysmenorrhea. It works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain in the body.

Side effects of ketorolac and ketoprofen


Common side effects include:

Rare side effects include:

  • Abnormal thinking
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Blurred vision
  • Bronchospasm
  • Jaundice
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Taste abnormality
  • Euphoria
  • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome
  • High potassium blood levels
  • Low sodium levels

Serious side effects include:

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

Other serious adverse events include:

  • Reduced ability of blood to clot
  • Stomach and intestinal ulcers and bleeding
  • Black tarry stools
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness upon standing
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The most common side effects include:

  • Rash
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Retention of fluid
  • Shortness of breath

Other conditions that have been associated with the use of NSAIDs include:

  • Fluid retention
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Hair loss
  • Ringing in the ears

Dosage of ketorolac vs. ketoprofen


  • Treatment should begin 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.
  • The recommended adult intravenous single dose is 15 to 60 mg.
  • Multiple intravenous doses of 15 or 30 mg every 6 hours may also be used.
  • Following intravenous therapy, the recommended dose is 1 or 2 tablets initially followed by 1 tablet every 4 to 6 hours.
  • 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.


  • The usual starting dose is 50 or 75 mg every 6 to 8 hours or 200 mg once daily.
  • The maximum dose is 300 mg daily of immediate release capsules or 200 mg daily of extended release capsules.
  • Ketoprofen should be taken with food to avoid stomach upset.
  • Menstrual cramps are treated with 25 to 50 mg every 6 to 8 hours.
  • Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis are treated with 75 mg three times daily or 50 mg four times daily or 200 mg daily of extended release capsules.

Drugs that interact with ketorolac and ketoprofen


  • Probenecid (Benemid) should not be combined with ketorolac.
  • Ketorolac may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid).
  • Concomitant use of ketorolac and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors may reduce kidney function.
  • Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants should avoid ketorolac.


  • Ketoprofen may increase the blood levels of lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid).
  • Ketoprofen may reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of medications.
  • When NSAIDs are combined with methotrexate or aminoglycosides, the blood levels of methotrexate or aminoglycoside may increase.
  • Individuals taking blood thinners or anticoagulants should avoid ketoprofen.
  • Combining NSAIDs such as ketoprofen with angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) in certain patients may result in reduced kidney function.
  • Persons who have more than three alcoholic beverages per day are at increased risk of developing stomach ulcers when taking ketoprofen.

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Is it safe to use ketorolac and ketoprofen while pregnant or breastfeeding?


There are no adequate studies in pregnant women. Use during pregnancy should be justified by the potential benefit. NSAIDs may cause cardiovascular side effects during late pregnancy.

Ketorolac should not be used by nursing mothers.


There are no adequate studies of ketoprofen in pregnant women. It is not recommended during pregnancy.

It is not known whether ketoprofen is excreted in breast milk.


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Ketorolac and ketoprofen are different NSAIDs used to treat various types of pain. Ketorolac is used for short-term management of moderately severe acute pain, while ketoprofen is used to manage rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and primary dysmenorrhea.

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