A retrospective review was undertaken in 744 patients who were dose-individualized with gentamicin once daily to evaluate a change in gentamicin clearance as a potential predictor of nephrotoxicity. The definition of nephrotoxicity was chosen to be a change in creatinine clearance greater than 20%. Similarly, a change in gentamicin clearance of greater than 20% was also considered a possible index of nephrotoxicity. Four criteria were developed to assess the usefulness of gentamicin clearance as a predictor of nephrotoxicity. Following the application of the inclusion/exclusion criteria, 132 patients were available for the analysis, The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were assessed for each of the criteria. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were produced to determine if an optimum value in the change of gentamicin clearance could be found to maximize sensitivity and specificity. The overall incidence of nephrotoxicity based on a decrease in creatinine clearance by 20% or more was 3.8%. Women were over-represented in the nephrotoxic group [71.4% versus 40.1% (P = 0.0025)]. Patients with nephrotoxicity had statistically longer treatment periods, increased cumulative dose, and more dosing predictions (P < 0.05 in each case). The sensitivity of the criteria ranged from 43 to 46%, and specificity ranged from 93 to 99%. The positive and negative predictive values ranged from 63 to 94% and 86 to 89%, respectively. In those patients in whom nephrotoxicity was predicted from a change in gentamicin clearance, this change occurred on average 3 days before the change in creatinine clearance (P < 0.05). A change in gentamicin clearance to predict nephrotoxicity may be a useful addition to current monitoring methods, although it is not the complete answer.