Asthma caused by topical application of ketorolac

Ophthalmology. 1996 Jun;103(6):890-2. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(96)30591-5.


Background: Ketorolac tromethamine 0.5 percent ophthalmic solution is a widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in ophthalmology. Ketorolac eye drops have not been implicated previously as a cause of NSAID-induced asthma.

Study design: A patient with severe asthma after topical application of ketorolac is described. The current ophthalmic indications for topical application of ketorolac and reported hypersensitivity reactions with systemic use of ketorolac are reviewed.

Results: A 44-year-old woman with chronic asthma, rhinosinusitis, and nasal polyps inadvertently was given ketorolac to be applied topically. After applying the first dose of ketorolac, an exacerbation of her asthma developed, necessitating hospital admission.

Conclusions: Topical application of ketorolac is safe in the vast majority of ophthalmology patients. However, NSAID eye drops should not be prescribed for patients with aspirin or NSAID allergy or the combination of asthma and nasal polyps unless the patient is known to tolerate aspirin without trouble.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / chemically induced*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic / drug therapy
  • Drug Hypersensitivity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ketorolac Tromethamine
  • Nasal Polyps / complications
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Rhinitis / complications
  • Sinusitis / complications
  • Steroids
  • Tolmetin / adverse effects
  • Tolmetin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tolmetin / therapeutic use
  • Tromethamine / adverse effects
  • Tromethamine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tromethamine / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Steroids
  • Tromethamine
  • Ketorolac Tromethamine
  • Tolmetin
  • Albuterol