Toradol is a discontinued brand name version of ketorolac, which doctors may prescribe to treat migraine, usually as a shot. Although Toradol is no longer available in the United States, people can take the generic version instead.

Migraine is a common condition. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that at least 39 million people in the U.S. live with the condition, which usually begins during early adulthood. Some people have migraine symptoms several times a week, while others may go years between episodes.

Various treatments can relieve migraine symptoms, including over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs. Ketorolac is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can help with migraine symptoms. Its effectiveness depends on the cause of the migraine.

Although people can no longer get the Toradol brand in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that its withdrawal from the market was not due to safety or efficacy concerns.

Read on to find out more about ketorolac, including how it works, its features and side effects, and who should avoid this medication.

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Toradol was a brand name version of the generic drug ketorolac, which belongs to the NSAID category of pain relievers.

The FDA has approved ketorolac as a treatment for moderate-to-severe pain in adults. However, doctors may prescribe it off-label to treat migraine.

Ketorolac works by stopping the body from producing a substance called prostaglandin that causes pain, inflammation, and fever.

A healthcare professional usually injects liquid ketorolac into a vein or muscle. The typical schedule is every 6 hours or as necessary for pain, up to a maximum of 5 days of treatment.

Doctors prescribe these injections for short-term pain relief. The medication is not suitable for mild pain or for chronic conditions.

Although doctors will administer someone’s first dose of ketorolac as an injection, they may provide the rest of their treatment in the form of oral tablets.

Ketorolac may cause various side effects, including:

  • headaches
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • sweating
  • gas
  • ringing in the ears
  • injection site pain
  • small dots of discoloration on the skin
  • mouth sores

Some side effects of ketorolac can be severe. People should contact a doctor if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • yellow eyes or skin, known as jaundice
  • loss of appetite
  • pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • flu-like symptoms
  • fast heartbeat
  • pale skin

People with a good overall health status can use ketorolac as a short-term treatment for moderate-to-severe pain. It can sometimes help treat migraine, depending on the cause and type.

Research has found that ketorolac works well for people whose migraine has spread throughout their entire head and into their shoulders. It also works well for people whose headache has progressed during sleep to become a migraine headache on waking.

Certain factors can put a person at risk of illness or complications from taking ketorolac, meaning that they should avoid this drug unless a doctor advises otherwise. These factors include:

Other medication

People who regularly take other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, may have a higher risk of stroke or heart attack when receiving ketorolac. These may happen without warning and may lead to death. The risk is particularly relevant if they have taken the medication for a long time.

Other medications can also interact with ketorolac, including:

  • anticoagulants, including blood thinners, such as warfarin
  • aspirin
  • oral steroids, such as methylprednisolone (Medrol) or dexamethasone (Decadron or DexPak)

Family medical history

People with a family history of heart attack, stroke, heart disease, ministroke, or high blood pressure may have a higher risk of these conditions while receiving ketorolac.

Bleeding or clotting

Ketorolac injections increase a person’s risk of severe or uncontrolled bleeding. A person who has had clotting or bleeding issues in the past should not have ketorolac injections.

Upcoming surgery

If someone is due to have surgery, including dental surgery, they should tell their surgical team or dentist that they are using ketorolac.

Anyone who is undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft — a type of heart surgery — should not have ketorolac treatment right before or after surgery.


Ketorolac and NSAIDs can cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the intestine and stomach. The following risk factors make these complications more likely:

  • long-term, regular use of NSAIDs
  • older age
  • drinking alcohol while using ketorolac injections
  • smoking

Before using ketorolac, people should make their doctor aware if they have had ulcers before or have an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Kidney or liver disease

Ketorolac may cause kidney failure. People with kidney or liver disease may be at higher risk while using ketorolac.

Pregnant, breastfeeding, or giving birth

People should not receive ketorolac injections while in labor, giving birth, or breastfeeding. After 20 weeks of pregnancy, people should also avoid ketorolac, as it may harm the fetus and cause issues with delivery.


Some people may have severe allergic reactions to ketorolac. A person should tell their doctor if they are allergic to ketorolac, another NSAID, or any other medications.


If an individual has asthma, they should tell their doctor before receiving ketorolac, especially if they frequently have a runny or stuffed nose or swelling of the nasal lining.

Toradol is a discontinued branded version of ketorolac, which is an NSAID that works by stopping the body from producing a substance that causes pain and inflammation. Doctors may prescribe it off-label to treat migraine in the short term.

A healthcare professional will inject ketorolac either into a vein or a muscle. After the initial injection, a person may have regularly scheduled injections or switch to oral ketorolac.

Ketorolac has a range of potential side effects. A person should contact their doctor if they experience side effects that are persistent or severe, such as swelling in the face or a fast heartbeat.

Certain people may have a higher risk of complications when taking ketorolac. Therefore, it is important to discuss all current medications and underlying health conditions with a doctor before using this drug.