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How and where is the Toradol injection given?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 22, 2021.

Official answer


How do you administer a ketorolac injection?

  • Toradol (ketorolac tromethamine) is given as an intramuscular (IM) injection into the muscle or intravenously (IV) into a vein. Intramuscular injections are usually given into the hip or arm area. It is given by a healthcare provider.
  • This drug must NOT be injected into the spine (intrathecal or epidural administration).
  • The brand name product Toradol is no longer marketed in the U.S, but generic options are available. People may still refer to ketorolac as “Toradol” because it was such a commonly used brand name.
  • Ketorolac tromethamine injection is a short-term therapy used for acute pain control, usually after surgery. Treatment should not exceed 5 days. You must stop taking oral ketorolac and using ketorolac injection on the fifth day after you received your first dose of ketorolac injection.
  • Your doctor will prescribe the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration possible to help avoid serious side effects.

Ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol injection) is used to relieve moderate-to-severe pain in adults, usually after surgery. It may also be used “off-label” to treat migraine headaches. It is in a common class of medications called NSAIDs and works by stopping production of a compound that causes pain, fever, and inflammation (swelling).

Generic options for both the Toradol injection and oral tablet are available in the U.S.

A nasal spray form (brand name: Sprix) used for moderate-to-severe pain has also been approved by the FDA, but only comes as a brand name option. Sprix has many of the same warnings as the oral and injectable forms of ketorolac and should be used only for 5 days or less.

An ophthalmic solution (brand names: Acular, Acular LS, Acuvail) is also approved but is used to relieve eye itching caused by seasonal allergies or to reduce swelling and pain after cataract surgery or corneal refractive surgery (LASIK).

How do you take Toradol injection?

  • When used as an injection for acute pain, ketorolac (Toradol) comes as an intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection. A healthcare provider will give you your injection.
  • If you continue short-term use of ketorolac for pain, your doctor may switch you to the oral tablet, which you can take by mouth.
  • Your ketorolac therapy should always be started with an intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) dose of ketorolac. Oral ketorolac is to be used only as continuation treatment after the injection, if needed.
  • The total combined duration of use of oral ketorolac tablets and IV or IM ketorolac should not exceed 5 days due to possible serious side effects in your heart, stomach or kidney. Ketorolac can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • If you still have pain after using ketorolac for 5 days, talk with your doctor.

Ketorolac tromethamine injection may be used as a single dose, or given as multiple doses on a regular or "as needed" schedule for the management of moderately severe acute pain that requires analgesia, not to exceed a total of 5 days. This will be determined by your healthcare provider.

Your doctor may adjust your dose based on your age, weight or kidney function. If you have advanced kidney disease or are over 65 years of age, you may not be able to use ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol) injection.

Tell your doctor if you take aspirin or other NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen. You should not use ketorolac if you are currently receiving aspirin or other NSAIDs.

How does Toradol come?

Ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol) for acute pain treatment comes as an injection and as an oral tablet. The brand name product Toradol is no longer on the U.S. market.

  • Ketorolac tromethamine injection is available for intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) administration in two strengths: 15 mg/mL, 30 mg/mL. The 60 mg/2 mL formulation is available for intramuscular administration only.
  • The oral tablet is available in a 10 mg strength. Oral ketorolac is to be used only as a continuation of injectable treatment, if needed, not to exceed a total of 5 days of ketorolac treatment.
  • The dose of ketorolac injection will be different for different patients based on their age, weight or kidney function..

See more: ketorolac (Toradol) dosing (in more detail)

Where do you give a Toradol (ketorolac) shot?

Toradol (ketorolac) intramuscular injections are usually given in the prominent part of the hip (ventrogluteal injection site) or in the outer, upper arm area (deltoid injection site). The hip may be preferred because of the large muscle mass in the area which may be less painful than the arm. Intravenous (IV) injections are given directly into a vein.

Injections will be given to you by a healthcare provider in a doctor's office, clinic or hospital.

Your doctor will determine the best place where ketorolac tromethamine (Toradol) can be injected.

How long does a Toradol injection last?

  • When given as an injection, Toradol effects can last up to 4 to 6 hours. It works fast, usually within 30 minutes, but may take 1 to 3 hours for the full effect. Pain-relieving effects can last up to 4 to 6 hours.
  • If you are 65 years of age or older or have problems with your kidneys, the effects can be prolonged.

Do Toradol injections hurt?

As with many injections, pain at the injection site can also occur with the Toradol (ketorolac) injection.

Injection site pain with Toradol is a common side effect and occurs in about 1% to 10% of patients. Bruising and stinging at the place of injection may also occur.

In general, intramuscular (IM) injections like ketorolac tromethamine can be more painful than subcutaneous injections, which are given into the layer of fat right under the skin. However, in most patients, this pain should be transient and short-lived.

Speak with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about feeling pain from the Toradol injection.

How many Toradol injections can you get?

Your doctor will determine the number of ketorolac (Toradol) injections you should receive based on your pain level. In general, this medicine is used for the shortest period of time possible to help avoid serious side effects like stomach and kidney problems.

In some cases, after your first injection, you may continue treatment with oral ketorolac tablets.

You will not receive ketorolac injection or a combination of the injection and tablets for more than 5 days in length.

This is not all the information you need to know about Toradol (ketorolac) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full ketorolac information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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