Flamax & Flamax Forte: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions

What is Flamax?

Flamax and Flamax Forte are brands of ketoprofen in Georgia and the Russian Federation according to Prescription Flamax is used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints) and rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints). Prescription ketoprofen capsules are also used to relieve pain, including menstrual pain (pain that occurs before or during a menstrual period).

Nonprescription Flamax is used to relieve minor aches and pain from headaches, menstrual periods, toothaches, the common cold, muscle aches, and backaches, and to reduce fever. Flamax is in a class of medications called NSAIDs. It works by stopping the body’s production of a substance that causes pain, fever, and inflammation.

  • Each capsule of Flamax contains Ketoprofen 50 mg as the active ingredient.
  • Each capsule of Flamax Forte contains Ketoprofen 100 mg as the active ingredient.
  • Each vial of Flamax injection contains Ketoprofen 50mg/ml 2ml as the active ingredient.

How should I take Flamax and Flamax Forte?

Prescription Flamax comes as a capsule and extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The capsules are usually taken three or four times a day for arthritis or every 6 to 8 hours as needed for pain. The extended-release capsules are usually taken once daily. If you take Flamax regularly, take it at around the same time every day.

Nonprescription Flamax comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken with a full glass of water or other liquid every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

Follow the directions on the package or prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Flamax exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor or written on the label.

Flamax may be taken with food or milk to prevent an upset stomach. Your doctor may also recommend that you take ketoprofen with an antacid to reduce stomach upset.

Your doctor may start you on an average dose of prescription ketoprofen and may increase or decrease your dose depending on how well you respond to the medication and the side effects you experience. Follow these directions carefully.

Stop taking nonprescription Flamax and call your doctor if your symptoms get worse, you develop new or unexpected symptoms, the part of your body that was painful becomes red or swollen, your pain lasts for more than 10 days or your fever lasts for more than 3 days.

Can a pregnant woman take Flamax?

No, Flamax is a pregnancy category C medication meaning animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies on pregnant women.

Taking Flamax during the last 3 months of pregnancy may harm the unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are pregnant.

Can a breastfeeding mother take Flamax?

No, there are no adequate studies on women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. It is not known whether ketoprofen passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Flamax is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

Is Flamax safe for people with liver and kidney conditions?

If you have liver disease or impaired liver function, the recommended maximum daily dose is 100 mg. This reduced dosage may help to reduce the risk of side effects.

For people with mild kidney disease, the recommended maximum daily dose is 150 mg. If you have more severe kidney disease, the recommended maximum daily dose is 100 mg. Following these guidelines may help reduce the risk of side effects.

Flamax side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with Flamax include:

•        upset stomach

•        nausea

•        diarrhea

•        headache

•        dizziness

•        drowsiness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

•        Heart attack or stroke. Symptoms can include:

o       chest pain

o       shortness of breath

o       weakness on one side of your body

o       slurred speech

•        Kidney damage (if you use it for a long time). Symptoms can include:

o       decreased urination

o       swelling in your arms, legs, hands, or feet

•        Heart failure. Symptoms can include:

o       unusual weight gain

o       swelling in your arms, legs, hands, or feet

•        Stomach problems, such as ulcers or bleeding. Symptoms can include:

o       stomach pain or upset stomach

o       black, tarry stools

o       vomiting up blood

•        Liver problems. Symptoms can include:

o       yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

o       flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, fever, nausea, and vomiting

o       tiredness

o       pain in the upper part of your stomach area

o       itching

•        Skin reactions. Symptoms can include:

o       reddening, blistering, or peeling skin

•        Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

o       shortness of breath

o       swelling of your face, lips, or throat

What other drugs will affect Flamax?

Ask your doctor before using Flamax if you take an antidepressant such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline (Zoloft), trazodone, or vilazodone. Taking any of these medicines with an NSAID may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use Flamax if you are also using any of the following drugs:

•        lithium;

•        methotrexate;

•        probenecid;

•        a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven);

•        heart or blood pressure medication, including a diuretic or “water pill”; or

•        steroid medicine (such as prednisone).

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Flamax, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Where can I get more information on Flamax?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about Flamax and Flamax Forte.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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