Ketoprofen - Use | Dose | Side Effects

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Ketoprofen is a drug that belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or more precisely to propionic acid derivatives. It exhibits anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic effects. Its mechanism of action is primarily based on the inhibition of the synthesis of PGE2 and PGF 2 (prostaglandins that are mediators of the inflammatory process).

Ketoprofen is used in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Post-traumatic and post-operative pain
  • Menstrual pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis, and osteoarthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout

In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, Ketoprofen is proved to be equally effective as aspirin and ibuprofen.1


Ketoprofen is contraindicated in the following conditions:

  • In patients with severe heart failure or other severe heart diseases
  • In patients who have gastrointestinal bleeding (e.g. gastric or duodenal ulcer)
  • In pregnant women
  • In patients who have severe kidney disease
  • In patients who have severe liver disease
  • In patients who have asthma. The researches have reported that this drug causes bronchospasm therefore should not be administered to patients with asthma.
  • In children under the age of 12


Studies have shown (check reference number 2 ) that Ketoprofen should be used with extra precaution in the following conditions:

  • In patients older than 70 years
  • In patients with hypertension
  • In patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus
  • In patients with ulcerative colitis
  • In patients who have Crohn's disease
  • In patients who have elevated cholesterol
  • In patients who smoke

It is necessary to carefully monitor renal function in patients taking diuretics or other nephrotoxic drugs and in which the Ketoprofen is introduced in the therapy. Ketoprofen demonstrated nephrotoxic effects in clinical studies. If you notice signs of kidney damage (e.g. decreased urine output or you have pain while urinating), immediately contact your doctor.

Long-term use of high doses of the Ketoprofen is associated with an increased risk of thrombosis, heart attack and stroke.

If you experience signs of visual impairment (partial loss of vision or blurred vision), immediately stop taking this medicine and call your doctor.

Ketoprofen, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Ketoprofen is contraindicated for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Ketoprofen exist in the form of tablets to be given by mouth and in the form of a gel to be applied locally on the skin.

The usual dose of Ketoprofen tablets is 100-200 mg per day depending on the body weight of the patient. Duration of therapy should be as short as possible in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular adverse reactions.

The maximum daily dose of Ketoprofen tablets is 200 mg.

Swallow the tablet whole with 8 fl. oz. of water after a meal. Taking the tablets after meals reduces the risk of stomach upset.

Ketoprofen 2.5% gel is applied in a thin layer (2-3 inches long) to the affected area and massaged into the skin in order to ease the absorption of this drug. This gel should be applied three times a day.

Both dosage forms of Ketoprofen (tablets and gel) should not be used in children younger than 12 years.


Ketoprofen can interact with the following medications:

  • Lithium (antipsychotic). Ketoprofen may increase the concentration of lithium in the blood which may lead to toxic effects of lithium.
  • Methotrexate. Ketoprofen slows down the elimination of methotrexate causing an accumulation of this drug in the blood which leads to the toxic effects.
  • Mifepristone. Ketoprofen reduces the effectiveness of this drug and should not be applied 15 days after taking mifepristone.
  • Pentoxifylline (drug used for the peripheral vascular disease treatment). Co-administration of these two drugs increases the risk of bleeding.
  • ACE inhibitors, calcium antagonists, beta blockers, and diuretics (drugs used in the treatment of hypertension and other cardiac diseases). Ketoprofen can reduce the effects of these drugs.
  • Digitalis preparations (drugs used in the treatment of heart failure). Ketoprofen can worsen heart failure.
  • Cyclosporine. Both, Ketoprofen and Cyclosporine, are nephrotoxic drugs, and the concomitant use increases the risk of kidney damage.
  • Quinolone antibiotics (norfloxacin, ofloxacin, levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin). Co-administration of Ketoprofen with these drugs increases the risk of convulsions.
  • Probenecid (medicine used to treat gout). Probenecid decreases the elimination of Ketoprofen causing an accumulation of Ketoprofen in the blood which leads to toxic effects.
  • Zidovudine (medicine used in the treatment of HIV). Co-administration of these two drugs increases the risk of hematological adverse reactions.

As you can see, the list of drugs that can interact with the Ketoprofen is quite long, but this list is probably not complete. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking.

Side effects

Ketoprofen may cause the following side effects:

  • Hematological adverse reactions, such as: thrombocytopenia, bone marrow aplasia, hemolytic anemia and neutropenia)
  • Asthmatic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Tingling of the hands and feet
  • Visual impairment
  • Optical neuritis
  • Tinnitus
  • Gastritis
  • Stomatitis
  • Bloody stools
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Allergy


  1. NCBI link 1
  2. NCBI link 2

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