We aimed to examine the association of serum creatinine with health status and current medications in the population of older adults. We employed a cross-sectional study within an ongoing cohort of 3999 residents of three communities of the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly who had venepuncture at the 6-year follow-up when they were aged 71 years and older. Serum creatinine levels, history of diabetes and heart attack, current medications, and blood pressure were measured. Creatinine levels were higher in men than in women, and in blacks than in whites. Higher creatinine levels were observed in persons with a history of diabetes or heart attack, and in those reporting use of cimetidine and diuretic medications. Persons taking frusemide and the potassium-sparing diuretics had higher creatinine levels than those taking thiazides. This study confirms associations of higher creatinine with male sex, older age, black race, history of diabetes and cimetidine use reported from cross-sectional research in younger populations and in smaller, more selected groups of older adults. Longitudinal studies will be necessary to strengthen our understanding of the causes of changes in kidney function in the older population.