Ketoprofen belongs to the propionic acid class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with analgesic and antipyretic effects. Ketoprofen is generally prescribed for arthritis-related inflammatory pain or severe toothache leading to inflammation of the gums. Ketoprofen in topical patches is used to treat musculoskeletal pain. Ketoprofen may also be used to treat some pain, especially nerve pain such as sciatica, post-herpetic neuralgia, and referring pain from radiculopathy, in the form of a cream, ointment, liquid, spray, or gel.



The anti-inflammatory effect of ketoprofen is thought to be due to inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), an enzyme involved in prostaglandin synthesis via the arachidonic acid pathway. This results in decreased levels of prostaglandins that mediate pain, fever, and inflammation.


Ketoprofen is rapidly and well absorbed orally, with maximum plasma levels reached within 0.5 to 2 hours. It is 99% bound to plasma proteins, primarily albumin. It is rapidly and extensively metabolized in the liver, mainly by conjugation to glucuronic acid and by the CYP3A4 and CYP2C9 enzymes. No active metabolites have been identified. Over a 24-hour period, approximately 80% of an administered dose of ketoprofen is excreted in the urine, primarily as a glucuronide metabolite. The half-life is approximately 1-4 hours.


Side Effects

Adverse effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dyspepsia
  • Diarrhea
  • constipation
  • gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding
  • headache
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rash
  • salt and fluid retention
  • high blood pressure

Rare adverse effects include esophageal ulcers, heart failure, high blood potassium levels, kidney dysfunction, confusion, and bronchospasm. Ketoprofen may exacerbate asthma, so use is contraindicated in asthmatics.

Toxicological Data

LD50 (rat, oral): 62.4 mg-kg-1

Chemical & physical properties

ATC Code M01AE03, M02AA10
Formula C16H14O3
Molar Mass (g·mol−1) 254,28
Physical State solid
Melting Point (°C) 94
PKS Value 4.45
CAS Number 22071-15-4
PUB Number 3825
Drugbank ID DB01009


  • Drugbank
  • PubChem
  • Aktories, Förstermann, Hofmann, Starke: Allgemeine und spezielle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Elsvier, 2017

Editorial principles

All information used for the content comes from verified sources (recognised institutions, experts, studies by renowned universities). We attach great importance to the qualification of the authors and the scientific background of the information. Thus, we ensure that our research is based on scientific findings.
Markus Falkenstätter, BSc

Markus Falkenstätter, BSc

Markus Falkenstätter is a writer on pharmaceutical topics in Medikamio's medical editorial team. He is in the last semester of his pharmacy studies at the University of Vienna and loves scientific work in the field of natural sciences.

Mag. pharm. Stefanie Lehenauer

Mag. pharm. Stefanie Lehenauer

Stefanie Lehenauer has been a freelance writer for Medikamio since 2020 and studied pharmacy at the University of Vienna. She works as a pharmacist in Vienna and her passion is herbal medicines and their effects.

The content of this page is an automated and high-quality translation from DeepL. You can find the original content in German here.


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