Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 313–329

Ketoprofen Pharmacokinetics, Efficacy, and Tolerability in Pediatric Patients

Review Article


The NSAID ketoprofen is used widely in the management of inflammatory and musculoskeletal conditions, pain, and fever in children and adults. Pharmacokinetic studies show that drug exposure after a single intravenous dose is similar in children and adults (after dose normalization), and thus similar mg/kg bodyweight dosing may be used in children and adults. Ketoprofen crosses the blood-brain barrier and therefore has the potential to cause central analgesic effects.

Ketoprofen has been investigated in children for the treatment of pain and fever, peri- and postoperative pain, and inflammatory pain conditions. The results of four clinical trials in febrile conditions with the oral syrup formulation indicate that ketoprofen is as effective as acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen, allowing children to rapidly return to daily activities with improvements in sleep quality and appetite. Studies of ketoprofen in the management of postoperative pain indicate that ketoprofen is a highly effective analgesic when administered perioperatively for a variety of surgical types, by a variety of routes, and whether given preoperatively or postoperatively. For adenoidectomy, intravenous ketoprofen provided superior postoperative analgesic efficacy compared with placebo. Analgesic efficacy was similar with intravenous, intramuscular, or rectal routes of administration, but oral administration just before surgery was inferior to intravenous administration in this setting. In patients undergoing a tonsillectomy, intravenous ketoprofen was superior to intravenous tramadol in terms of the need for postoperative rescue analgesia, but did not remove the need for rescue opioid therapy in these patients. Intravenous ketoprofen had superior postoperative analgesic efficacy to placebo when given as an adjuvant to epidural sufentanil analgesia after major surgery. Oral ketoprofen has shown efficacy in the treatment of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Ketoprofen is generally well tolerated in pediatric patients. Most of the adverse events reported are mild and transient, and are similar to those observed with other NSAIDs. Long-term tolerability has not yet been fully established in children, but data from three studies in >900 children indicate that oral ketoprofen is well tolerated when administered for up to 3 weeks after surgery.

In conclusion, ketoprofen is effective and well tolerated in children for the control of post-surgical pain and for the control of pain and fever in inflammatory conditions.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive CareKuopio University Hospital, University of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive CareKuopio University HospitalKuopioFinland

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