Expatriates prescribed fibrates through international medical insurance policies may wish to monitor their kidney health, following research indicating the drug could damage this organ.
Scientists at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Lawson Health Research Institute revealed one-tenth of new older users of this medicine suffered a 50 per cent spike in the amount of creatinine in their serum.
Researchers compared users of fibrates with those who took ezetimide, which is not thought to cause any adverse renal effects.
Creatinine indicates a loss of kidney function and people who have elevated levels of the substance are more likely to be hospitalised or have to see a medical specialist.
Lead investigator Dr Amit Garg said the study shows physicians ought to monitor kidney function when prescribing someone with a fibrate for the first time.
"At the end of the day, we want to prescribe medication with the highest benefit and the least amount of adverse events," he added.
Fibrates are generally used to counteract high cholesterol and can reduce the risk of a person suffering from cardiovascular disease.