Straight Dope on origin of the name "Valium"

Supposedly the drug was named after the book “The Valley Of The Dolls”, but that doesn’t really make sense. Why name a drug after a book about women who turn to drugs simply to relieve their boredom?

I’m pretty sure it comes from the Latin “valeo”, which means to be strong or healthy. Valley of the Dolls was first published in 1966, and Valium was invented and first marketed in 1963, so I don’t think there’s a connection.

Not likely, since Valium was introduced in 1963, and “Valley of the Dolls” was written by Jacqueline Suzann in 1966.

I found some history of the drug on the website of Roche Pharmaceuticals, the owner of the Valium™ trademark. Unfortunately, the press release does not go into the origin of the name.

I always thought Valium was made from valerian root, an herbal sedative and muscle relaxant. But when this question came up, I looked into it. I was wrong.

Apparently, there is no connection between the herb and the pharmaceutical brand. Instead, Valium was a fake name invented to be sort of similar to Librium, the leading tranquilizer at the time of Valium’s release.