How Effective Is Ketorolac for Migraines?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2020
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Ketorolac for migraines is typically very effective in relieving pain, nausea, and light sensitivity. In addition, ketorolac for migraines is prescribed for oral use, in tablet form, and as an injection. Also, ketorolac is in a class of medications classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Ketorolac is only available with a prescription, however, less potent NSAIDS are available over the counter.

In addition to providing pain relief for migraines, arthritis, and other moderate to severe pain, ketorolac is effective in relieving inflammation and reducing fever. When prescribing ketorolac, the physician needs to know what other medications the patient is on. Medications such as blood thinners can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.

When taking ketorolac for migraines, patients should make sure they take the medication with plenty of water. To decrease the risk of stomach irritation, it should be taken with food. If the patient is too sick to eat because of his migraine, he can take the medication with an over-the-counter antacid tablet. Keterolac related stomach irritation can worsen symptoms of migraines that include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity.


Although generally well tolerated by most people, taking ketorolac may cause problems for those with kidney problems. As with all NSAIDS, when taking them for prolonged periods of time, the health care provider may recommend liver and kidney function tests to make sure these organs have not been damaged by the medication. These are generally simple blood tests that require no fasting or other preparation.

Taking ketorolac for migraines during pregnancy may not be safe for the unborn baby. It may also cause prolonged labor and even affect the cardiovascular and circulatory systems of the fetus. In addition, when used while breast feeding, ketorolac may get into breast milk and cause side effects to the baby. Breast feeding mothers should consult their doctors for an alternative migraine treatment.

Other side effects of taking ketorolac for migraines include swelling of the extremities, urinary retention, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Also, severe allergic reactions, such as swelling and closing of the throat, shortness of breath, and rapid heart rate may rarely occur. When these symptoms are experienced, the individual needs emergency medical treatment. If treatment is delayed, the patient may experience respiratory arrest, multiple organ failure, or shock.

This medication is generally not used for treating mild pain. Other, less potent anti-inflammatory medications can be very effective in treating mild pain such as pain associated with menstrual cramps and mild headaches. Taking ketorolac should only be considered when pain is not relieved by other methods of pain relief such as over-the-counter analgesics, ice packs, and rest.


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