discovery of benzodiazepines by Leo Sternbach and colleagues Lowell
Randall and Earl Reeder improved the lives of many people and
introduced a new class of safe and effective tranquilizers to
treat sleep and anxiety disorders. Librium and Valium , the first
two drugs from a new class called benzodiazepines, proved to be
more effective at reducing stress and anxiety than previous tranquilizers
and had fewer side effects. The global healthcare company Roche
introduced Librium in 1960 and Valium in 1963, the most prescribed
drug in the world from 1969 to 1982.
success of Librium and Valium prompted further research into other
types of benzodiazepines and several variants were developed by
Roche (Versed , Klonopin , Dalmane , and Lexotan ), in addition
to products from other companies (Atavan and Xanax ). Since their
worldwide launch more than 40 years ago, benzodiazepines have
proven to be safe and effective, when used properly.
was born in Abbazia, now part of Croatia, and earned his Ph.D.
in organic chemistry, his greatest passion, from the University
of Krakow in Poland in 1931. He began his career at Roche in 1940
in Switzerland but was forced to flee to the company's U.S. headquarters
the following year to escape the Nazi occupation of Europe. Sternbach
maintained an office at the Roche New Jersey site until 2004.