Creatinine Assessment in Non–Steady-State Conditions: A Critical Review

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1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To discuss methods for the assessment of creatinine clearance (Clcr) when serum creatinine (SCr) is not at steady state in order to estimate kidney function and apply the estimate to kidney function staging for clinical assessment or drug dosing. Data Sources: A PubMed search was conducted from 1976 to mid-January 2021 with other articles identified through review of bibliographies of retrieved articles and citations in Scopus. Study Selection and Data Extraction: Articles assessing Clcr under non–steady-state conditions and studies evaluating predictive equations were selected. Data Synthesis: When SCr is systematically changing (ie, trending up or down), kinetic methods to estimate Clcr are appropriate. Estimates from kinetic methods should be individual based and not indexed to body surface area, and careful monitoring is required to confirm predictions as the situation evolves. Standard methods intended for steady-state conditions should not be used to estimate Clcr in patients with unstable SCr. Relevance to Patient Care and Clinical Practice: Creatinine continues to be a monitoring parameter of choice and is an important variable in all the commonly used equations for estimating Clcr and most important for estimating glomerular filtration rate. However, standard methods of estimating Clcr for medication dosing are not accurate under non–steady-state conditions. Conclusion: The methods for kinetic clearance estimation and standards methods for clearance estimation, such as the Cockcroft-Gault equation, are mutually exclusive. There are no benefits of using the kinetic method in patients with stable SCr concentrations, and standard equations are not appropriate with unstable SCr concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1544
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • acute kidney injury
  • creatinine
  • drug therapy
  • glomerular filtration rate
  • kidney disease
  • medication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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