Toradol: Injectable Pain Relief for Arthritis

What You Need to Know About This Powerful NSAID

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Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) is a powerful prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), often given by injection. It is indicated for short-term management of moderate to severe acute pain.

Some research indicates that Toradol can have the same effect that corticosteroid injections do in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. It can be helpful for younger patients who have run out of treatment options other than surgery.

That said, there is much to consider and understand before deciding to use Toradol.

What It Does

Toradol, like other NSAIDs, is helpful in decreasing the substances that cause inflammation. In addition to reducing inflammation, NSAIDS can also manage swelling, pain, and fevers.

Toradol is commonly used as a short-term treatment for chronic pain conditions such as arthritis and is sometimes given to people for pain management after surgery. 

Forms

Most people who use Toradol receive it via injection. It may be given for up to five days in adults.

A tablet form of Toradol can be taken by mouth, and a nasal spray is also available. The drug may also be given intravenously (IV).

Side Effects/Risks

Toradol is considered a potent NSAID and side effects are common. The medication is also associated with some dangerous risks.

Common side effects of Toradol include:

  • Swelling in the face, fingers, legs, ankles, and feet
  • Unusual weight gain

Less common, but possible side effects are:

  • Bruises aside from at the injection site
  • Skin rash and/or itching
  • Red skin spots
  • Sores or white spots on the lips or in the mouth

The risks associated with Toradol include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding, including bleeding ulcers
  • Renal (kidney) impairment
  • Allergic reactions, which can be life-threatening

According to Scott J. Zashin, MD, a board-certified internist and rheumatologist in Dallas, "Patients with risks for these problems probably should not receive the drug. It should be avoided in patients already on an oral NSAID (e.g., Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen), Mobic (meloxicam), Naprosyn or Aleve (naproxen) and is not typically given in combination with an injectable corticosteroid."

Dr. Zashin adds, "In fact, there may be an increased risk of bleeding ulcers when corticosteroids and NSAIDs are given simultaneously. The typical dose per injection of Toradol is 60 mg, but should be reduced to 30 mg for patients less than 110 pounds or greater than 64 years of age."

Warnings

According to information provided by Hoffmann-Roche, the manufacturer of Toradol, if you have or previously have had any of the following medical conditions, consult with your doctor and discuss treatment other options:

A Word From Verywell

Toradol should only be taken for short-term management of severe pain as it can have some serious side effects. When taken properly, Toradol can treat short-term pain without the effects of stronger pain medications, such as a narcotics and opioids. If your doctor prescribes it for you, make sure you ask about the best way to take it and what side effects to look out for.

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Article Sources

  • Hoffmann-Roche. Toradol (Ketorolac). Updated February 19. 2015. http://www.rochecanada.com/content/dam/roche_canada/en_CA/documents/Research/ClinicalTrialsForms/Products/ConsumerInformation/MonographsandPublicAdvisories/Toradol/Toradol_PM_CIE.pdf

  • Medline Plus. Ketorolac Nasal Spray. Updated November 15, 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a611042.html

  • Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. Ketorolac for Pain Management: A Review of the Clinical Evidence. Updated June 30, 2014.