Intranasal ketorolac as part of a multimodal approach to postoperative pain

Pain Pract. 2015 Apr;15(4):378-88. doi: 10.1111/papr.12239. Epub 2014 Aug 28.


Despite recent advances in the knowledge of pain mechanisms and pain management, postoperative pain continues to be a problem. Inadequately managed postsurgical pain has both clinical and economic consequences such as longer recovery times, delayed ambulation, higher incidence of complications, increased length of hospital stay, and potential to develop into chronic pain. Generally, opioids are the mainstay option for pain management in patients with moderate-to-severe postsurgical pain; however, opioids have significant side effects and have abuse potential. To improve patient and economic outcomes after surgery, postoperative pain guidelines have suggested incorporating a multi-modal/multi-mechanistic approach to pain treatment. A multi-modal approach is the simultaneous use of a combination of two or more (usually opioid and non-opioid) analgesics that provide two different mechanisms of actions. Utilizing a multi-modal approach may result in a greater reduction in pain vs. single therapies in addition to minimizing opioid use, thus reducing opioid related side effects. However, not all approaches may be effective for all types of patients and not all analgesics may be a viable option for outpatient settings, ambulatory surgery, or the fast-track surgical procedures. In this report, we present a review of the literature with a focus on intranasal ketorolac in order to provide a timely update regarding past, present, and future multi-modal treatment options for postoperative pain.

Keywords: NSAID; intranasal; ketorolac; multimodal; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; opioid; postoperative pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Ketorolac / administration & dosage*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Pain, Postoperative / diagnosis
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Ketorolac