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Enantiomer-specific ketorolac pharmacokinetics in young women, including pregnancy and postpartum period

Aida Kulo, Anne Smits, Sanita Maleškić, Marc van de Velde, Kristel van Calsteren, Jan de Hoon, Rene Verbesselt, Jan Deprest, Karel Allegaert


Racemic ketorolac clearance (CL) is significantly higher at delivery, but S-ketorolac disposition determines the analgesic effects. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of pregnancy and postpartum period on enantiomer-specific (S and R) intravenous (IV) ketorolac pharmacokinetics (PKs). Data in women shortly following cesarean delivery (n=39) were pooled with data in a subgroup of these women that was reevaluated in the later postpartum period (postpartum group, n=8/39) and with eight healthy female volunteers. All women received single IV bolus of 30 mg ketorolac tromethamine. Five plasma samples were collected at 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours and plasma concentrations were determined using high performance liquid chromatography. Enantiomer-specific PKs were calculated using PKSolver. Unpaired analysis showed that distribution volume at steady state (Vss, L/kg) for S- and R-ketorolac was significantly higher in women shortly following cesarean delivery (n=31) compared to postpartum group (n=8) or to healthy female volunteers (n=8). CL, CL to body weight, and CL to body surface area (CL/BSA) for S- and R-ketorolac were also significantly higher in women following delivery. In addition, S/R-ketorolac CL/BSA ratio was significantly higher at delivery. Paired PK analysis in eight women shortly following delivery and in postpartum group showed the same pattern. Finally, the simultaneous increase in CL and Vss resulted in similar estimates for elimination half-life in both unpaired and paired analysis. In conclusion, pregnancy affects S-, R-, and S/R-ketorolac disposition. This is of clinical relevance since S-ketorolac (analgesia) CL is even more increased compared to R-ketorolac CL, and S/R-ketorolac CL ratio is higher following delivery compared to postpartum period or to healthy female volunteers.


Pharmacokinetics; ketorolac; enantiomers; pregnancy; cesarean delivery; postpartum

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