Piracetam is one of the hottest and most widely used nootropics available today.  It has been used for decades to enhance memory, improve focus, heighten the senses, and increase learning.  Piracetam belongs to a class of drugs known as “racetams.”  All of the names of these drugs end in “racetam.”  Piracetam was the first to be created and has been used all over the world.  It is not registered as a drug in the United States, although its medical uses have been well established.  It is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement.



What are some of the benefits of Piracetam?

  • ⇒ Memory Enhancement
  • ⇒ Improved Learning
  • ⇒ Increased Sensory Perception
  • ⇒ Greater Focus
  • ⇒ Reduced Anxiety
  • ⇒ Reduced Depression
  • ⇒ Increase in Motivation


How does it work?piracetam-link

As with all nootropics, the exact mechanism of action of Piracetam is not fully understood.  It is known to influence vascular, neuronal, and cognitive functions without acting as a stimulant or as a sedative[1].  Piracetam increases blood flow and oxygen consumption in certain parts of the brain.  It also improves the way that acetylcholine works in the brain[2].  Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is known to be vital to learning and memory.  This explains, at least in part, why Piracetam is so effective as a cognitive enhancer.

Safety/Side Effects

Piracetam is generally well tolerated and has very few side effects.  One medical study done on Piracetam found that the side effects were “few, mild, and transient.”[3]  One large study done over the course of 12 weeks that used high doses of Piracetam found there to be no more side effects in the group receiving Piracetam than in the placebo group [4].  Rarely, the following side effects can occur:

  • ⇒ Headaches
  • ⇒ Insomnia
  • ⇒ Agitation
  • ⇒ Increased Libido
  • ⇒ Upset Stomach

These side effects usually only occur at high doses or in individuals that are sensitive to the drug.  They usually subside quickly once the drug is discontinued.


The recommended dosage of Piracetam is 1-3 grams.  It is always a good idea to start at the lowest dose and work your way up.  Some people find that 1 gram is enough to have positive results.  Others need a larger dose to feel the effects.


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[1] Winblad, B (2005). “Piracetam: a review of pharmacological properties and clinical uses”. CNS Drug Reviews 11 (2): 169–82

[2] Winnicka, K; Tomasiak, M; Bielawska, A (2005). “Piracetam–an old drug with novel properties?”. Acta poloniae pharmaceutica 62 (5): 405–9.

[3] Koskiniemi, M; Van Vleymen, B; Hakamies, L; Lamusuo, S; Taalas, J (1998).“Piracetam relieves symptoms in progressive myoclonus epilepsy: a multicentre, randomised, double blind, crossover study comparing the efficacy and safety of three dosages of oral piracetam with placebo”Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 64 (3): 344–8.

[4] De Reuck, J; Van Vleymen, B (1999). “The clinical safety of high-dose piracetam–its use in the treatment of acute stroke”. Pharmacopsychiatry. 32 Suppl 1: 33–7.