Ketoprofen for pain and inflammation

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Ketoprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (also known as an NSAID).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other anti-inflammatory painkiller.

Take the capsules after a meal, or with a snack.

Type of medicineNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Used forRelief of pain and inflammation, particularly in rheumatic disease and other muscle and joint conditions
Also calledKetocid®; Larafen®; Orudis®; Oruvail®; Tiloket®; Valket®
Also Axorid® (a combination of ketoprofen with omeprazole)
Available asCapsules, and prolonged-release capsules

Anti-inflammatory painkillers like ketoprofen are sometimes called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or just 'anti-inflammatories'. Ketoprofen is used to treat painful conditions such as arthritis, sprains and strains, gout, period (menstrual) pain, and pain after surgical operations. It eases pain and reduces inflammation.

Ketoprofen works by blocking the effect of chemicals called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help to make other chemicals in the body, called prostaglandins. Some prostaglandins are produced at sites of injury or damage, and cause pain and inflammation. By blocking the effect of COX enzymes, fewer prostaglandins are produced, which means pain and inflammation are eased.

Ketoprofen is available on prescription. It is sometimes combined with a medicine called omeprazole which helps to protect against stomach irritation, which can be a common side-effect.

Ketoprofen is also available as a gel which can be applied directly to your skin to help relieve muscle and joint pain. There is more information about this in a separate leaflet called Ketoprofen (topical).

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking ketoprofen, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have asthma or any other allergic disorder.
  • If you have ever had a stomach or duodenal ulcer, or if you have an inflammatory bowel disorder such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby, or breast-feeding.
  • If you are under 18 or over 65 years of age.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have a heart condition, or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
  • If you have high blood pressure.
  • If you have ever had blood clotting problems.
  • If you have a connective-tissue disorder, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (an inflammatory condition also called lupus, or SLE).
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other NSAID (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and indometacin), or to any other medicine.
  • Before you start taking ketoprofen, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the capsules and provide a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
  • Take ketoprofen exactly as your doctor has told you to. The usual daily dose of the standard capsule (for example, Orudis®) is 100-200 mg, taken divided into 2-4 doses over a day. Some brands of ketoprofen capsule release the medicine slowly over the day to give a more even and prolonged effect. These brands include Oruvail®, Larafen® CR, Ketocid®, Tiloket® CR and Valket® Retard. These prolonged-release capsules are taken once daily. Your doctor will tell you what dose is right for you, and this dose will also be printed on the label of the package to remind you.
  • Take your doses with a snack or just after eating a meal. Swallow the capsules whole - do not chew or open the capsules.
  • Try to take your doses at the same times each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose then leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
  • Ketoprofen may cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Do not use sunbeds, and avoid direct sunlight or use a sun cream with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher until you know how your skin reacts.
  • Your doctor will try to prescribe you the lowest dose for the shortest time to reduce the risk of side-effects. If you need to take ketoprofen for a long time, your doctor may want to prescribe another medicine along with it to protect your stomach from irritation.
  • Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress, and is especially important if you are taking ketoprofen for a long-term condition.
  • If you are taking ketoprofen for gout and your symptoms have not improved within seven days, you should let your doctor know about this.
  • If you have asthma, symptoms such as wheeze or breathlessness can be made worse by anti-inflammatories such as ketoprofen. If this happens to you, you should stop taking ketoprofen and see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with an anti-inflammatory like ketoprofen.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common ketoprofen side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
What can I do if I experience this?
Indigestion, heartburn, abdominal discomfortRemember to take the capsules after a meal if you are not already doing so. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor
Feeling or being sick, diarrhoeaStick to simple meals. Drink plenty of liquid to replace any lost fluids
Other less common side-effects: constipation, wind, headache, feeling dizzy or sleepy, itchy rashIf any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

Important: if you experience any of the following uncommon but possibly serious symptoms, stop taking ketoprofen and contact your doctor for advice straightaway:

  • If you have any breathing difficulties such as wheeze or breathlessness.
  • If you have any signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling around your mouth or face, or an itchy skin rash.
  • If you pass blood or black stools, vomit blood, or have abdominal pains.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
997 (v26)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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