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Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID)

Brand names:


Often used for:

Pain relief, inflammation

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What is ketorolac?

Ketorolac is a medicine used for short-term relief of moderate or severe pain. It is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It works by preventing your body from making natural substances that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.

This medicine may be given in the clinic, hospital or at home.

Ketorolac is only used for 5 days. It may cause bleeding in the stomach if it is not taken as directed. Your care team will tell you when to stop the medicine.

Keep all appointments with your health care team while your child takes ketorolac. Your care team will monitor your child’s symptoms and may order lab tests. These tests look at how your child’s body responds to ketorolac.

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May be given into a vein by IV

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May be give as a shot into a muscle (intramuscular injection) 


May be given as a tablet by mouth

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Possible side effects

  • Headache
  • Stomach pain or heartburn
  • Nausea 
  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Severe headache, dizziness, or feeling lightheaded
  • Blisters, red, swollen, or peeling skin
  • Sores in the mouth, throat, nose, or eyes
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Swelling in the arms or legs
  • Sudden weight gain 
  • Decreased amount of urine (pee) or difficulty peeing 
  • Bleeding in stomach (symptoms may include blood in urine, blood in stool, stools that are black or tarry looking, vomiting blood or vomiting what looks like coffee grounds, or pale skin)

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, hives, itching, runny nose, fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the throat, dizziness, low blood pressure, pain in the chest, side, or back, swelling of the face or neck.

Not all patients who take ketorolac will have these side effects. Common side effects are in bold, but there may be others. Please report any symptoms or side effects to your doctor or pharmacist. Find more information on side effects.

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Possible long-term or late effects

Ketorolac may cause medical problems that continue or develop months or years after therapy ends. These may include kidney problems.  

Your care team can give you more information about your child’s risk. 

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Tips for patients and families

Discuss all questions and instructions with your care provider or pharmacist.

  • Certain medicines can increase risk of bleeding if taken with ketorolac. These include other NSAIDs, warfarin, aspirin, and the combination medicine of rivaroxaban/apixaban. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all medicines your child takes.  
  • Let your care team know if your child has asthma. Asthma may make your child more sensitive to the medicine.
  • This medicine may make your child dizzy or drowsy. Do not allow your child to do anything that could be dangerous until you see how this medicine affects them.
  • It is important that patients tell the care team if they are sexually active, pregnant, or breastfeeding. 
  • Do not take this medication if you are pregnant unless instructed by the care team. 

Ketorolac at home

  • Tablets: Take with food or milk if stomach upset occurs. Taking the medicine with meals may lessen stomach problems.
  • Give a missed dose as soon as possible. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Do not give 2 doses at the same time. 
  • Store at room temperature. 
  • Do not share this medicine with anyone or give it for reasons other than prescribed.