Assessment of Glomerular Filtration Rate in Health and Disease: A State of the Art Review

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Sep;102(3):405-419. doi: 10.1002/cpt.729. Epub 2017 Jun 5.


Acute and chronic kidney diseases affect pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. There has been substantial progress in the past 20 years in the use of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) estimating equations. In principle, use of a single equation for each filtration marker (creatinine, cystatin C, or the combination) for detection, evaluation, and management of kidney disease and for drug development and dosing would facilitate clinical practice. We review the principles for assessment of GFR, provide historical perspectives and updates regarding use of GFR estimating equations, including assay methods for filtration markers, performance of estimating equations, and recommendations by clinical practice guideline groups and regulatory agencies. We conclude that it is time to change from rigid adherence to the use of the Cockcroft-Gault equation for use in drug development and drug dosing to the more accurate and more widely used Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) study and the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology*
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Cystatin C / metabolism
  • Drug Design
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*


  • Cystatin C
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Creatinine