How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Ketorolac belongs to the group of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)There are 3 strengths of ketorolac eye drops. The 0.45% and 0.5% strengths are used for the prevention and relief of eye inflammation due to cataract surgery. The 0.4% strength is used for the relief of eye pain, burning, stinging, tearing, sensitivity to light, and the feeling of something being in the eye after corrective laser eye surgery.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

ratio-Ketorolac is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under ketorolac eye drops. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

Following cataract surgery: The recommended adult dose is 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye(s) every 6 to 8 hours beginning 24 hours before surgery and continuing for 3 to 4 weeks.

Contact lenses must be removed before using the eye drops and can be put back in 15 minutes afterwards. If you use other eye drops as well, wait at least 5 minutes between using this medication and the other drops.

Follow your pharmacist's or doctor's instructions on proper use of the eye drops. To help prevent infections, do not touch the applicator tip to your eye or to any other surface. Wash your hands before using the medication.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light, and keep it out of the reach of children. Discard the drops 28 days after opening.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to ketorolac or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • eye redness
  • eye scratchiness
  • feeling of something being in your eye
  • sensitivity of eyes to light
  • temporary blurred vision when drops are instilled
  • temporary stinging or burning of eye when drops are instilled

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • continued blurred vision or vision changes
  • continued eye pain or burning
  • drooping eyelid
  • shortness of breath and/or worsening of asthma symptoms
  • swelling of the eye
  • swelling of the eyelid

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Allergies: If you are allergic to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., ibuprofen, naproxen) you may also be allergic to ketorolac eye drops. If you are allergic to these medications, talk to your doctor before using ketorolac eye drops.

Bleeding: If you are having surgery and bleed easily or are taking medications that prolong bleeding (e.g., warfarin), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Vision: This medication can cause blurred or reduced vision. If you experience these symptoms, do not drive or operate machinery until these symptoms resolve. Although these symptoms usually improve over time, stop using the eye drops and contact your eye doctor if they persist.

Wound healing: Ketorolac eye drops may slow or delay the healing of wounds. You are at an increased risk if you have complicated eye surgeries, disorders of the cornea, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or several eye surgeries in a short time. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Pregnancy: Ketorolac eye drops are not recommended for use during pregnancy, labour, or delivery.

Breast-feeding: If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Ketorolac eye drops are not recommended if you are breast-feeding. 

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children younger than 3 years old.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.