What is Ketorolac?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Ketorolac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that bears some resemblance to other medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Unlike these drugs, ketorolac or brand names like Toradol® are often not available as over the counter medicines. Due to serious side effects, this particular NSAID is usually prescription-only and tends to be employed for very short periods of time to treat pain, or in some cases, it is used as a nasal spray or in eye drop form for seasonal allergies. Most people would either receive an injection of Toradol® or get it in pill form, and it generally isn’t used for more than five days because this increases risk of side effects.

Side effects of ketorolac may include heart dysfunction.
Side effects of ketorolac may include heart dysfunction.

Like most NSAIDs, ketorolac can have serious side effects. It can cause gastrointestinal upset or bleeding, it may be damaging to the liver or kidneys, and in some cases, it poses risk for heart dysfunction. People who are advised not to take this drug include this with heart, liver or kidney impairment, anyone with gastrointestinal illnesses like Crohn’s disease, those who will drink alcohol during use, and anyone with any type of bleeding disorder or who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

Side effects of ketorolac may include liver damage.
Side effects of ketorolac may include liver damage.

This drug has a history of adverse interactions with a number of medications. People should not use this drug if they are using other NSAIDS, drugs like aspirin, or anti-clotting drugs like warfarin or Plavix®. Probenecid, which is often prescribed to treat gout, and pentoxifylline, which may treat circulation disorders, are also not advised if patients take Toradol®. Other medications may interact with the drug, and patients should be prepared to provide doctors with an exhaustive list of all over the counter or prescribed medicines and herbs they use, prior to accepting a new prescription.

Pregnant women should not take ketorolac.
Pregnant women should not take ketorolac.

For many healthy patients, short-term use of ketorolac is non-problematic, though it should be noted that some countries refuse to sell this medicine due to the high risk of side effects. Those countries that do approve its use recommend it for just a few days at a time, and usually for no more than five days, especially in its oral or injected form. Due to its limited use, most people may not be very familiar with this medicine, and might only encounter it if they need quick pain relief in an injectable form. Doctors’ offices may stock it to deal with painful injuries.

People who consume alcohol regularly should not take ketorolac.
People who consume alcohol regularly should not take ketorolac.

The basic side effects that are not harmful include gastrointestinal upset, which could have features like heartburn, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gas, or vomiting. Some people experience a headache or will notice ringing in the ears from ketorolac. Others receiving this drug feel drowsy or dizzy after taking it. Unusual side effects that require immediate medical attention include vomiting blood, tarry stools, minimal urination, rash, allergic reaction, jaundice, stroke or heart attack symptoms, seizures, and muscle weakness.

Side effects of ketorolac may include headache.
Side effects of ketorolac may include headache.
Side effects of ketorolac may include nausea.
Side effects of ketorolac may include nausea.
Side effects of ketorolac may include fatigue.
Side effects of ketorolac may include fatigue.
Many people taking ketorolac experience side effects like vomiting.
Many people taking ketorolac experience side effects like vomiting.
Ketorolac may be used as a nasal spray to treat seasonal allergies.
Ketorolac may be used as a nasal spray to treat seasonal allergies.
Ketorolac is Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen sodium may help alleviate mild to moderate pain.
Ketorolac is Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen sodium may help alleviate mild to moderate pain.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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