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The Story of Valium

`Chill pill' eased nerves across nation; Leo Sternbach's invention, Valium, was hit, but addiction soon followed

BY PAULA SCHLEIS

Knight Ridder Newspapers

AKRON, Ohio - (KRT) - There once was a cure for the desperate housewife. It was called Valium.

Today, there are those who would argue that the ``chill pill'' was more curse than cure because of its addictive qualities. But there is no doubt that Valium - still widely used, though more carefully prescribed - is a cultural icon.

It all started with the Great Tranquilizer War of 1954.

Leo Sternbach, a Croatian chemist working in the New Jersey lab of Hoffman-LaRoche Inc., was under the gun to create something to compete against Miltown, an anti-anxiety drug from a rival pharmaceutical company. His superiors suggested he try tinkering with the chemicals used in Miltown, just enough to avoid a patent lawsuit.

Full story.

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