Toradol (ketorolac): The Drug Football Players Take for Pain

Written by Shivam Patel, PharmD, BSPS, RPh | Posted November 24, 2020 | Updated April 13, 2023

Tackle football is no walk in the park. Although a popular American pastime (Go Patriots!), football is admittedly a dangerous sport-- especially for kids. So much so that the surgeon general has warned us about the risk of certain brain diseases due to repeated hits of players’ heads.

And it doesn’t end there. From Pee Wee football to the National Football League, muscle soreness, broken teeth, shattered bones, torn ligaments, and dislocated shoulders are just a few of the injuries one might expect during games. How to deal with such injuries, and the pain associated, is a source of controversy and intrigue as NFL players prepare to take the field week to week.

Introducing: Toradol (ketorolac)

Approved by the FDA in 1989, Toradol actually has top players waiting in line to get a shot before each game -- and even sometimes practice. Toradol (generic name: ketorolac) is a nonsteroidal inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is injected for an analgesic effect (i.e., it relieves moderate to severe pain.) Toradol is also available in the form of an oral tablet. The brand-name as we know it has been discontinued by the manufacturer in the U.S.; however, you can order it online from accredited pharmacies. Generic versions are available and inexpensive here in the U.S. and abroad. Ibuprofen and ketorolac are in the same NSAID drug class, but ketorolac is much more powerful working by preventing the body from forming prostaglandins, which are natural substances that cause inflammation and pain. Toradol (ketorolac) works well at treating pain and treating it fast: within fifteen to thirty minutes of administration! It can provide the analgesic effect for up to six hours after the shot is given.

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Toradol (ketorolac) Side Effects

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Drowsiness

  • Diarrhea

  • Upset stomach

Ketorolac is a prescription medication legally used practically OTC in the NFL and is a great alternative to addictive opioids painkillers for NFL players to manage short-term pain. However, team physicians must know the player’s medical history before administering Toradol (ketorolac) because it does carry a high risk of kidney problems and internal bleeding when used over a long period of time. The NFL has recommended that Toradol should not be used as preventative medicine before playing a football game; however, the use of the drug is not banned.

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Tramadol vs. Toradol (ketorolac)

Tramadol is a prescription opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by targeting opioid receptors in our brain to change how the body responds to pain. Tramadol comes in the form of oral tablets, capsules, and solutions. Both drugs are effective in treating pain with no concrete studies on which is “stronger” for pain relief. It is important to know that tramadol is a controlled substance in the U.S. which means it has the potential to be addictive, which is why Toradol may be a better option for suitable patients.

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Banned Drugs in the NFL

The NFL has a strict policy on performance-enhancing substances and a long list of drugs prohibited for use by any player. These drugs include anabolic and androgenic steroids, protein peptides, anti-estrogenic agents, masking agents, and stimulants.

The NFL offers therapeutic use exemption (TUE) applications for players who need treatment with a banned substance for any condition like ADHD, male pattern baldness, and hypertension.

It is the players who bear responsibility for avoiding all league-prohibited substances.

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Save Money on Toradol (Ketorolac)

You can find savings on brand name Toradol (ketorolac) tablets by comparing prices listed on

Compare Toradol (ketorolac) U.S. vs. Canada Prices

Drug (generic name) Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price Accredited Canadian Pharmacy Price Accredited International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings
Toradol (ketorolac) 10mg 100 tablets - - $109.95 $104.99 -
Ketorolac 10mg 100 tablets $188.40 $61.43 $66.95 $67.95 67%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near White Plains, NY. Accredited Canadian & International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on

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Where is Toradol (ketorolac) manufactured?

We found packaging of ketorolac sold in the U.S. indicating that it is made in India.

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Compare drug prices among reputable online pharmacies

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