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Trademark for a preparation of diazepam. A tranquillizing drug used to treat anxiety and tension states and as an aid in sedation, first introduced in 1963, it belongs to the group of chemically related compounds called benzodiazepines, the first of which was synthesized in 1933. Side effects include drowsiness and muscular incoordination; physical dependence can result after prolonged use. The discovery of Valium and similar drugs led to a new era in psychopharmacology.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Valium, visit Britannica.com.