By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Prescription drugs can help us live longer and better but mixing them can be dangerous. But a new consumer guide helps you get the most from your meds.

This year’s The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs covers 11 top-selling medicines in honor of 2012, (the 12th will be online in June).

Author and Pharmacy Doctor James Rybacki cheats a little. There are 20 pages on aspirin, which is non-prescription.

“If you brought aspirin to the FDA today it would so quickly be a prescription medicine your head would spin,” said Rybacki.

Each chapter links drug effects to hundreds more, and even herbal products like red rice yeast.

“It actually has some statin-like compounds, just like the prescription drugs, so if you add it on without telling you doctor you may be getting too much of a statin.”

The guide’s illustrations and subject groupings make its drug information easy to swallow.

For more information, click here: The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs.

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