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Las Cruces Bulletin The Rx symbol that we associate with prescription drugs actually comes from a Latin word that means “recipe.” Until about 1900, prescriptions, or “medical recipes,” were written in Latin and often used Roman numerals to indicate the apothecaries’ system of weights for the combining of ingredients to create medications that were tailored to a patient’s specific complaints. At Las Cruces Apothecary, which he opened in February, pharmacist and compounding specialist Dr. Ken Cooper is returning pharmacology to the ancient practice of compounding, which he defined as “collaborating (FDA-approved) medications to improve patient care and provide each client with the maximum benefit.” Las Cruces Apothecary is the only compounding pharmacy within a 60-mile radius, said Cooper, who is a doctor of pharmacy and a compounding specialist. Working with doctor- referred clients, he uses his training and experience, along with stateof- the art equipment, to create medications that are not commercially available. That means he can create unique formulas with potencies and delivery systems that are not available to pharmaceutical manufacturers. And there is the difference between Las Cruces Apothecary and many other pharmacies, which Cooper said do little compounding. Often, the medications he creates have faster onset and reduced side effects, and they provide longer relief. As an example, he cited the popular pain-relief medication ibuprofen. Cooper said he can provide the drug in a topical solution that helps patients avoid the gastrointestinal problems that sometimes result from taking it orally. “We’re finding out that medications we’ve already invented work, we just need to deliver them in a different way,” said Cooper, who is a 2006 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Pharmacy and the Professional Compounding Centers of America training course. An Oklahoma native, Cooper began his pharmacy training at Silver Rexall Drug in Silver City. He considers store owner Albert Martinez his mentor. “17 years later, I still love what I’m doing,” he said. Cooper said he can make initial contact with a client’s primary care physician and work with that doctor to provide maximum client benefit. “It’s all about the needs of the client. That’s what matters most,” he said. Las Cruces Apothecary is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday at 525 E. Madrid Ave., Suite 8, in the Mesquite Junction shopping center. Dr. Ken Cooper at Las Cruces Apothecary. LAS CRUCES BULLETIN PHOTO BY MIKE COOK

By Mike Cook

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