Ketorolac Ophthalmic

By Rania Gollakner, BS, DVM, MPH

What is ketorolac?

Ketorolac (brand names: Acular®, Acular LS®, Acuvail®) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat inflammation in the eye and to control pain after cataract surgery.

Its use in cats, dogs, or other pets to treat pain and inflammation is ‘off label’ or ‘extra-label’. Many drugs are commonly prescribed for off label use in veterinary medicine. In these instances, follow your veterinarian’s directions and cautions very carefully as their directions may be significantly different from those on the label.

How is ketorolac given?

Ketorolac is given in the form of a liquid drop applied directly to the eye. Wash your hands before administering this medication. Do not touch the tip of the dropper to the surface of the eye or any other surface. Give this medication at least 5 minutes apart from other medications used in the eye. Wipe off excess medication on the face with a damp cloth or tissue. Do not give this to your pet if the medication is cloudy or changes color.

This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.

What if I miss giving my pet the medication?

If you miss a dose, give it when you remember, but if it is close to the time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and give it at the next scheduled time, and return to the regular dosing schedule. Never give your pet two doses at once or give extra doses.

Are there any potential side effects?

The most common side effects include a temporary stinging sensation upon application, and mild redness. Serious side effects include facial swelling, difficulty breathing, skin rash, bleeding in the eye, or sensitivity to bright light.

This moderate-acting medication should stop working in a few days.

Are there any risk factors for this medication?

Do not use ketorolac in pets that are allergic to it. Use cautiously in pets that are allergic to aspirin or other NSAIDs, or pets that are pregnant or nursing. Use cautiously in pets with asthma, dry eye syndrome, corneal ulcers, or bleeding disorders.

Are there any drug interactions I should be aware of?

There are no specific drug interactions with ketorolac ophthalmic. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications (including vitamins, supplements, or herbal therapies) that your pet is taking.

Is there any monitoring that needs to be done with this medication?

There is no specific monitoring that needs to be done while your pet is taking this medication. Your veterinarian may monitor your pet to be sure that the medication is working. Monitor your pet at home for serious side effects.

How do I store ketorolac?

Store at controlled room temperature between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 25°C) and protect from moisture, sunlight, and freezing.

What should I do in case of emergency?

If you suspect an overdose or an adverse reaction to the medication, call your veterinary office immediately. If they are not available, follow their directions in contacting an emergency facility.

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