Real thing: The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists says consumers need to be especially vigilant to make sure they aren't receiving counterfeit prescription medications.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says counterfeit drug investigations have quadrupled since 2000, and the World Health Organization says counterfeit medications make up 7 to 10 percent of the world market.
The society's recommendations:
Pay attention to your medication, particularly the instructions on how to take it, the correct dosage and warnings about its interaction with other drugs.
Talk to your pharmacist if your medicine looks, tastes, smells or feels different than it used to; is packaged differently; or doesn't produce expected results.
Be very careful when ordering drugs from online pharmacies. Buy medications only from pharmacy sites that bear the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy's VIPPS (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites) symbol.
Work it: Keeping Fit in Your 50s: Workout Essentials for a Changing Body (Acorn Media) features aerobic, strengthening and flexibility routines. Buy all three for $49.99 on DVD ($39.99 on VHS) or $19.99 each.
Guide: Exercise Ball for Beginners (HarperResource; $21.95) by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy is a nifty resource for newbies interested in core strengthening.
Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330;
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