7 Best Racetams: In-Depth Guide & Comparison

Updated on November 19, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

Racetams are a category of nootropic and anticonvulsant smart drugs.

These are generally used for improving overall brain health and treating patients with anxiety and epileptic seizures.

They are commonly used to improve cognition and memory, enhancing focus, mood, learning, heightening visual attention, and a sense of awareness.

Among the list of racetams, we have chosen the best ones for you to consider in terms of effectiveness, their unique benefits, and safety.

Read on to know more about racetams and the required dosage to guide you, and the overview of each nootropic.

What are Racetams?

Racetams are a class of drugs that share a common feature of having an organic compound called 2-pyrrolidone nucleus.

what are racetams

These are all synthetic and have the same chemical structure, such as nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen.

For racetam comparison, they vary in their unique functions, usage, and dosages.

The mechanism of action for racetams is by impacting the nervous system’s receptors.

Top 7 Best Racetam Nootropics Comparison

The most famous nootropic of the racetam family is Piracetam. It is the original racetam nootropic.

best racetams featured image

Other racetams were structurally made similar to Piracetam, with more than twenty derivatives used to enhance cognitive performance.

The following are the considered seven best of the racetam class:

  • Piracetam
  • Aniracetam
  • Oxiracetam
  • Phenylpiracetam
  • Pramiracetam
  • Coluracetam
  • Nefiracetam

The newer racetams are stronger, have different effects, and higher potency.


Piracetam nootropic was created in 1964. This nootropic works best in treating the elderly’s cognitive decline.

Piracetam nootropics increase the fluidity of cellular membranes. Research shows that it enhances a person's learning and memory retention but has lesser potency than newer racetams.

The racetams that are not similarly structured to Piracetam are Nefiracetam, Fasoracetam, Coluracetam, and Noopept.

Noopept is the nearest similar popular nootropic due to its effectiveness. The mechanism of action of Noopept nootropics is the same as Piracetam that affects the brain’s synapses.

The only difference is that Noopept’s psychostimulatory effect is more subtle.

Benefits and Side Effects

Piracetam is a mild cognitive enhancer that helps people boost memory, learning, focus, creativity, verbal fluency, and sensory concentration.

benefits side effects racetams

It lowers depression and anxiety for many. Another use of this drug is its neuroprotective properties that make toxins and injuries less damaging to the brain.

Piracetam nootropics also maintain mitochondria that develop new energy for cells.

Piracetam is a non-toxic racetam, and its mild effects if misused by some are headache, drowsiness, agitation, insomnia.

Some experienced short-term but not too serious diarrhea, muscle spasms, tiredness, hyperactivity, dizziness, dysphoria, memory loss, and anxiety.


The recommended Piracetam dosage for adults is from 1,200 to 4,800 mg (three times) per day. It has an approximate 5 hours half-life.

It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks of consistent daily use to harness its full benefits.

Most people guide new users in the racetam forums to have a break in usage every 18 months.


Aniracetam was later developed in the 1970s for treating cognitive disorders and enabling better focus and concentration.

Research shows that Aniracetam nootropics are 2 to 5 times more potent compared to Piracetam.

Studies show that when Aniracetam is active, it targets the brain’s AMPA receptors and binds to serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine receptors.

With this, a user’s mood, concentration, and mental well-being are being lifted. Some also claimed Aniracetam for people to have lucid dreams.

Benefits and Side Effects

Biohackers recommend Aniracetam nootropics to those who want to boost creativity as it increases the productivity of the right brain hemisphere.

The distinct quality of Aniracetam is that it acts as an effective anxiolytic. This enables many people to decrease stress, fear, depression, and anxiety.

These types of nootropics also improve one’s holistic cognitive functions and confidence in social interactions.

Aniracetam’s anxiolytic effect may also result in excessive relaxation, making a person feel less motivated to do mental work.

These racetams’ noted negative effects are nausea as most swear that it tastes horrible. Some are insomnia, uneasiness, diarrhea, headaches, vertigo, strong rashes, and anxiety.


Aniracetam’s dose is from 125 to 500 mg, once to three times per day. Its half-life is 2 to 4 hours.

As it causes nausea, one is advised to take Aniracetam drug with yogurt or any sweets to make up for its bitter taste.

Aniracetam is fat-soluble, which is why it's quickly absorbed and metabolized by the body, and it may be taken on an empty stomach.


Oxiracetam nootropics were created in 1977 and are popular as the study drug for students.

It is proven to be far more potent than Piracetam, even at smaller doses.

It specifically increases choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) that produces more acetylcholine. With this, a person’s short-term and long-term memory is enhanced without having brain fog.

Research shows Oxiracetam nootropics also intensify the binding sites and the density for AMPA receptors’ neurotransmitters. This gives the stimulating effect but without the adverse reactions of other stimulants.

Benefits and Side Effects

Oxiracetam is great for studying and is considered a very potent racetam for memory improvement.

It prevents neural decline, stimulates other cognitive abilities such as logical thinking, recall, attention, and focus.

Oxiracetam nootropics also improve one’s mood and eliminate headaches.

The following are its recorded adverse effects: mild headaches, restlessness, high blood pressure, nausea, sleep interference, overexcitability, constipation, and brain fog.


Oxiracetam nootropics are recommended to be taken from 400 to 800 mg, one to three times a day.

Many users claimed that its use usually lasts 8 hours of half-life.

To remove the headache side effects, this drug’s enthusiasts stack Oxiracetam and take it with choline.

This way, their neurons will have enough acetylcholine as Oxiracetam tends to burn a lot of neurotransmitters.

Pramiracetam: The Best Racetam for Memory?

Pramiracetam was invented in 1978, designed to be up to 30 times more potent than Piracetam.

With this, Pramiracetam is coined as the best racetam for memory formation and recall. It has intense effects on long-term memory, learning abilities, recall, and focus.

It increases high-affinity choline uptake (HACU) that has profound effects on neurotransmitter acetylcholine synthesis.

It enhances the blood flow to the brain and reduces the brain chatter that distracts one’s activities.

Benefits and Side Effects

Pramiracetam is the most potent nootropic known to have results of laser-sharp concentration and focus. It also avoids memory loss.

Many users also claimed to have gained a boost in their confidence. It provides thought fluidity and allows for easier verbal communication.

It is also the go-to drug of students for their logical and attention-based activities such as numerical calculations and long and intense study sessions.

Some have reported that after taking more than their required dose, they've experienced headaches, moodiness, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, loss of appetite, and lack of enthusiasm or energy.


It is recommended to take a Pramiracetam dosage of 1,200 mg that can be split into 1 to 3 servings in one day. Its half-life is 4.5 to 7.5 hours.

One can start in a dose of 250 mg and can increase to 400 mg per intake.

A guide for proper dosing is one can be taken in the morning, in the early afternoon, and lastly later in the afternoon.

Phenylpiracetam: The Most Stimulating Racetam

Phenylpiracetam was developed in 1983 as a more potent racetam drug than Pramiracetam to boost mental and physical performance.

Like Pramiracetam, Phenylpiracetam adds to the density of acetylcholine, GABA, NMDA, and dopamine receptors in the brain.

It is unique as it is a Piracetam derivative with an added phenyl group in its component. Its use is much more effective and bioavailable.

It can pass through the blood-brain barrier much faster.

Benefits and Side Effects

Phenylpiracetam nootropics improve cognition, alertness, focus, and mood. It also lessens social anxiety, fear, and depression.

It also has a special way of increasing a person’s tolerance to pain and cold weather.

The physical strengthening outcome of taking Phenylpiracetam drugs made it as the energy nootropics.

It is the best among the racetam family for athletes due to its high potency in energizing.

Studies show that it is also an effective treatment for epilepsy due to its anti-convulsive action.

The known negative effects of these types of drugs are headaches, irritability, sensory overload, insomnia. The rare consequences are aggressiveness, heightened anger, and possible suicidal thoughts.


Phenylpiracetam is advised to be taken from 100 mg to 200 mg a day once to three times.

Users of this racetam claimed that they experienced the effects in just 30 minutes of taking it. This is because of its bioavailability feature.

Phenylpiracetam drug approximately lasts 3 to 5 hours of half-life.

It can be taken one dose in the morning and one Phenylpiracetam dose in the early afternoon.

Coluracetam: The Strongest Racetam

Coluracetam is one of the new racetam drugs created in 2005 that works similarly to Pramiracetam.

It increases choline levels through the HACU system that pumps the brain’s conversion of choline to acetylcholine.

This process results in better memory formation and learning.

Coluracetam nootropics also improve glutamate’s effectiveness in the brain that leads to enhanced focus and concentration.

Benefits and Side Effects

Coluracetam racetams are widely used for increasing memory and better study. Most neurohacker prefer this drug for its enhancing capabilities of color and sound.

It can as well treat depression, alleviate anxiety, remove stress, and can also enhance eyesight.

Coluracetam racetams’ special benefit is their capacity to reboot the HACU system for brain patients even after having damage in their nerve cells.

Coluracetam is known for its neuroprotective feature that protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease and helps patients with strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and other brain-related diseases.

Mood swings, brain fog, depression, and irregular results from not taking enough sleep and intake of higher doses are the side effects of Coluracetam racetams.


This drug’s recommended dose is from 10 to 80 mg, to be taken 1 to 3 times a day.

Coluracetam has a usual 3 hours of half-life.

It is important to note that higher intake must be split into two or three smaller dosages. One should be taken first thing in the morning, the other at noon, and lastly in the afternoon.

For an appropriate dosage that matches your requirement, it is best to check with a medical professional.


Nefiracetam was developed in the 1990s as a fat-soluble racetam for treating cerebrovascular disorders.

Research shows that it boosts nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that increases the release of glutamate and GABA.

These processes improve neuroplasticity, learning, and memory formation with a calming effect.

In terms of enhancing the GABA signals, it results in stabilizing a person’s mood and sociability.

Nefiracetam also allows a prolonged opening of calcium channels that make neurotransmitters to be active longer.

Benefits and Side Effects

Nefiracetam improves memory recall and formation. Most students have reported that Nefiracetam is the most effective racetam for studying with a calm focus.

Users have experienced more motivation, have a better attention span, and less mental fatigue and apathy.

People claimed that they have more articulate thoughts and enhanced speaking ability when using the best nootropics.

It also has unique visual effects. Users described their visual range as having a broader spectrum with nature to seem more beautiful and vibrant.

In terms of developing potential dangers or toxicity, there are no sufficient human tests. Studies are only limited to dogs in which higher doses are proven to be toxic.


The usual dosage of Nefiracetam is up to 150 to 900 mg per day.

Smaller doses can be taken, like 400 mg once in the morning and another one at noon. Some users divide higher doses into three equal doses.

Nefiracetam shows a reaction to the brain after 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion.

Another thing to note is that Nefiracetam can result in significant mood enhancement by taking 600 to 900 mg daily for 12 weeks, like in the American study made for 159 stroke patients with severe depression.

Which Racetam is Best for You?

If you’re new to racetams and are looking for a widely used, proven to be safe in boosting cognition, has been studied for years, and provides multiple benefits, Piracetam will suit you.

You may choose Aniracetam and Oxiracetam racetams for a more holistic, more potent, and creative approach to cognitive processes.

which racetam is best for you

To relieve anxiety and depression, Aniracetam may help with its anxiolytic effectiveness and Phenylpiracetam and Coluracetam.

If you are a student, Oxiracetam may be the perfect racetam for your studies due to its stimulating effect. You may also try Nefiracetam and Pramiracetam.

Phenylpiracetam is the best among all racetam for anti-depressant and physical strengthening effects.

Coluracetam nootropic is the best fit for those who would like to intensify their hearing and sense of sight to see vivid colors and hear clearly.

For speaking, articulate thoughts, and verbal fluency, you may try either Nefiracetam, Pramiracetam, or Piracetam nootropic.

Many users create their racetam stacks and combine two to three racetams.

An example is the Aniracetam Oxiracetam stack but keep in mind that these require further studies and a doctor’s advice to guide you better.


Racetams are the most preferred drugs for different cognitive effects as it is generally safe.

Few studies have proven some of the racetams to be effective, and most claims are from neurohacker and user enthusiasts.

It is advisable to always seek a medical professional’s recommendations on which of the racetams will suit you best with the appropriate dosage.