Ketoprofen is a medicine called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It is also known as an 'NSAID'.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other anti-inflammatory medicine.Take ketoprofen capsules with food.
|Type of medicine||A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)|
|Used for||Relief of pain and inflammation, particularly in arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions|
|Also called||Larafen®; Oruvail®; Tiloket®; Valket® |
Also Axorid® (a combination of ketoprofen with omeprazole)
|Available as||Prolonged-release capsules|
Anti-inflammatory painkillers like ketoprofen are also called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or sometimes just 'anti-inflammatories'. Ketoprofen eases pain and swelling (inflammation) in conditions like arthritis, sprains and strains, and gout, and it may also be used for pain relief for period (menstrual) pain, and after surgical operations.
Ketoprofen works by blocking the effect of natural chemicals called cyclo-oxygenase (COX) enzymes. These enzymes help to make other chemicals, called prostaglandins, in the body. 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 can be combined with a medicine called omeprazole (in a brand called Axorid®) 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 gel for pain relief.
Before taking ketoprofen
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking ketoprofen, it is important that your doctor 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 have any problems with the way your liver works, or if you have any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a heart condition or a problem with your blood vessels or circulation.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have any blood clotting problems.
- If you have high blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
- If you have a connective tissue disorder such as systemic lupus erythematosus. This is an inflammatory condition which is 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, as well as 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.
How to take ketoprofen
- Before you start taking ketoprofen, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the capsules and provide a full list of the side-effects which you could experience from taking them.
- Take ketoprofen exactly as your doctor tells you to. Ketoprofen prolonged-release capsules release the medicine slowly over the day to give an even and prolonged effect. Take one dose a day. There are two strengths of prolonged-release capsule available: 100 mg and 200 mg. Your doctor will prescribe the strength of capsule which is right for you.
- Take the capsule with a snack or just after eating a meal. Swallow the capsule whole - do not chew or open the capsule.
- Try to take the capsule at the same time of day each day as this will help you to remember to take it.
- If you forget to take the capsule at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose from the previous day and take the dose that is due as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- 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 also want to prescribe another medicine for you to take along with ketoprofen 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 the capsules and see your doctor as soon as possible.
- There is known to be a small increased risk of heart and blood vessel problems in people taking some anti-inflammatory painkillers long-term. Your doctor will explain this to you and will prescribe the lowest suitable dose for the shortest time in order to reduce the risk. Do not take more than the recommended dose.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take. This is because you should not take ketoprofen with any other anti-inflammatory painkiller, some of which are available in cold and flu remedies which can be bought 'over the counter'.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Can ketoprofen cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with ketoprofen. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common ketoprofen side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Indigestion, heartburn, tummy (abdominal) discomfort||Remember to take the capsule after a meal. If the discomfort continues, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling or being sick||Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy foods. If it continues, speak with your doctor|
|Other less common side-effects: constipation, diarrhoea, wind, headache, feeling dizzy or sleepy, itchy rash, swollen feet||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
Important: if you experience any of the following less common 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, bring up (vomit) blood, or have severe tummy pains.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store ketoprofen
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
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.
Do not 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
- Manufacturer's PIL, Oruvail® Capsules; Sanofi, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated August 2013.
- British National Formulary; 72nd Edition (Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
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 makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson