Current Pharmacology Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 359–376 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of Renal Function Estimation Equations

  • Nadia Z. Noormohamed
  • Wei Gao
  • Matthew L. Rizk
Pharmacometrics and Quantitative System Pharmacology (A Chakraborty and S Polak, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Pharmacometrics and Quantitative System Pharmacology


Purpose of Review

This review summarizes the development of various renal function estimation equations and their use in the clinical and drug development space today. We provide a review of recent literature published regarding their concordance and accuracy as compared to measured renal function by way of creatinine clearance (CrCl) or glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in staging chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dose adjusting renally eliminated drugs.

Recent Findings

The choice of specific renal function estimation equations has been a topic of much debate. While clinical guidelines are continuously updated, product labels contain potentially different recommendations. Overall, Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology (CKD-EPI) and Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) are found to have higher concordance with one another than either equation with Cockcroft-Gault (CG). Although many studies assessing the accuracy of estimation equations found CKD-EPI to be closest to measured GFR, most labs are still reporting CG and MDRD as an assessment of renal function. Each of these equations have been developed in different patient populations and include different variables which makes it critical to understand and address potential discrepancies when using them to stage patients with CKD or dose adjust renally eliminated drugs.


An understanding of the development and accuracy of renal function estimation equations is required to use them appropriately in clinic. As clinical and drug development guidelines continue to be updated and new products are undergoing development, further study is required to come to some agreement regarding the use of these equations in both environments.


Renal function Chronic kidney disease Cockcroft-gault Modified diet in renal disease Chronic kindey disease epidemiology 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors received no financial support in the writing of this manuscript. All authors are employees of Merck & Co., Inc. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the company who employs them.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantitative Pharmacology & Pharmacometrics (QP2), PPDMMerck & Co., Inc.KenilworthUSA
  2. 2.North WalesUSA

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