Ketoprofen: What is it? How does it work? Warnings, Indications and Side Effects

It belongs to the group of medicines known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

It is used for the symptomatic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis , osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis .

Ketoprofen can also be used to treat pain associated with menstrual cramps and to relieve pain after surgery (including dental surgery), postpartum pain, and mild to moderate pain associated with sprains and strains.

How does it work?

Ketoprofen relieves pain and reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing a substance in the body that causes inflammation and pain.

When Ketoprofen is applied to the skin as a gel, instead of having an effect on your entire body, it only works in the area where you applied it. It is absorbed into your skin and then moves deeper into the areas of your body where there is inflammation (for example, your muscle).

Using a gel for the skin means that the total amount of Ketoprofen in your body remains low. This in turn means that you are much less likely to have a side effect of the medication.

Topical anti-inflammatories such as Ketoprofen are prescribed to adults; In general, they are not suitable for use in children. Ketoprofen gel is available by prescription and you can also buy some smaller packages without a prescription.

Warnings to consider

This medicine has black box warnings. These are the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The black box warnings alert physicians and patients about the effects of medications that can be dangerous.

Heart Risks Warning: This medicine may increase your risk of serious and sometimes fatal heart events, such as a heart attack and stroke .

Your risk may be higher if you take it long term, in high doses, or if you already have heart problems or risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure .

Heart surgery warning: Do not take this medicine if you have recently had coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Stomach Risk Warning: This medication is in a class of medications that can cause serious and sometimes fatal stomach problems. These include bleeding, damage to the lining of the stomach and a hole in the stomach.

Other warnings

Aspirin / NSAID allergy warning: Do not take this medicine if you have had allergic reactions to aspirin or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). These reactions include shortness of breath, rash, or other severe allergic reaction.

High blood pressure warning: This medication can cause high blood pressure or worsen existing high blood pressure.


Your doctor will try to prescribe 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 prescribe another medication for you to take along with Ketoprofen to protect you from irritation.

Try to keep regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check your progress and it 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 in seven days, tell your doctor about it.

If you have asthma , symptoms such as wheezing or dyspnea can get worse with anti-inflammatories such as Ketoprofen. If this happens to you, you should stop taking the capsules and consult your doctor as soon as possible.

It is known that there is a small increase in the risk of heart and vascular problems in people who take long-term anti-inflammatory analgesics. Your doctor will explain this to you and prescribe the appropriate lower dose for the shortest possible time to reduce the risk. Do not consume more than the recommended dose.

If you buy any medication, consult a pharmacist if it is appropriate for you to take it. This is because you should not take Ketoprofen with any other anti-inflammatory pain relievers, some of which are available in cold and flu remedies that can be purchased without a prescription.

Side effects

If you are going to have an operation or dental treatment, tell the person doing the treatment what medications you are taking.

Known side effects:

  • Stomach ache.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  •  Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness.
  • Headache.
  • Indigestion.
  • Dyspepsia .
  • Mild confusion
  • Vertigo.
  • Fluid retention that causes swelling.
  • Humor changes.
  • Insomnia.
  • Discomfort.
  • Fatigue.
  • Skin reactions, including photosensitivity reactions (sensitivity to sunlight), pruritus (itching and dryness).
  • Localized erythema (reddening of the skin due to congestion of capillaries).