A prospective randomized trial of intravenous ketorolac vs. acetaminophen administered with opioid patient-controlled analgesia in gynecologic surgery

Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Dec;155(3):468-472. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2019.09.019. Epub 2019 Oct 7.


Objective: To determine which non-narcotic analgesic, acetaminophen (Ofirmev®) or ketorolac (Toradol®), provides better post-operative pain control when combined with an opioid patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. Secondary objectives include comparisons of the rates of ileus, post-operative bleeding, transfusions, and length-of-hospitalization (LOH).

Methods: A prospective, randomized trial of acetaminophen (A) 1-g intravenous (IV) every 6-h or ketorolac (K) 15-mg IV every 6-h from post-operative day 1-3 in addition to an opioid PCA for patients undergoing benign or malignant gynecologic laparotomy procedures was performed. Abstracted data included pain levels via visual analogue pain scales (VAS), amount of narcotic used, hepatic enzyme levels, hemoglobin, urine output, blood transfusions, time to return of flatus and LOH.

Results: One-hundred patients were accrued and underwent 55 benign gynecologic laparotomies and 45 cancer-related laparotomies. VAS pain levels (3.3 K, 3.5 A) and morphine PCA use (79.1 oral morphine equivalents [OME] K vs. 84.5 A) were not different, however dilaudid PCA usage was less by K patients (84.4 OME K and 136.8 OME A, p < 0.001). There was a significant hemoglobin change between the two groups (2.6 g K vs. 2 g A, p = 0.015), however blood transfusions were equal (28% K, 22% A, p > 0.05). Return of flatus was 2.7-days for K vs. 3.4-days for A (p = 0.011) and LOH was not different (4.4-days K vs. 5.1-days A, p = 0.094).

Conclusions: Both intravenous ketorolac and acetaminophen provide similar post-operative analgesia through VAS pain scales and total usage of morphine via PCA pumps. Use of ketorolac with dilaudid PCA was associated with less dependence on dilaudid and a quicker return of bowel function than acetaminophen, however length of stay and transfusion rates were not different.

Keywords: Clinical outcomes; Gynecologic surgery; Laparotomy; Non-narcotic analgesics; Pain control; Post-operative pain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / surgery*
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydromorphone / administration & dosage*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Ketorolac / administration & dosage*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Acetaminophen
  • Hydromorphone
  • Ketorolac