Oxiracetam: Nootropic Benefits, Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Overview of Oxiracetam's nootropic benefits, usage, and impact on cognitive enhancement.

Oxiracetam, a derivative of piracetam and a prominent member of the racetam family of nootropics, stands out for its potential to address cognitive impairment.

Notably, Oxiracetam has been studied for its impact on cognitive decline, particularly in conditions like dementia, where it demonstrates an ability to alleviate symptoms induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion.

In addition to cognitive enhancement, Oxiracetam’s protective effects on brain health, including its influence on hippocampal neuron activation and memory formation, are of significant interest.

Could this be the ideal nootropic to add to your daily health regimen?

Join us as we unravel the intriguing details of Oxiracetam’s role in enhancing cognitive function and its standing in the world of brain health supplements.

What is Oxiracetam?

Oxiracetam (also known as ISF 2522 or 4-hydroxy-2-oxo-pyrrolidinoacetamide) is a nootropic compound that belongs to the racetam family of drugs. Similar to Aniracetam, it is a synthetic derivative of piracetam, which was the first nootropic discovered.

Oxiracetam is known for its stimulating and cognitive-enhancing properties.(1)

Clinically, oxiracetam has been investigated for its potential to improve cognitive function, particularly in contexts of cognitive deficits such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Oxiracetam has demonstrated an ability to improve memory, attention, and concentration in individuals with cognitive impairments.

Additionally, Oxiracetam is also popular in the nootropic community because of its ability to enhance cognitive abilities, improve focus, and increase mental stamina in healthy individuals.

Oxiracetam is often chosen for its stimulating effects, which are typically milder and more well-tolerated than traditional stimulants like caffeine or amphetamines.

It’s important to note that while Oxiracetam is available as a dietary supplement in some countries, its regulatory status varies, and in many regions, it is not approved by drug regulatory agencies for medical use.


  • Increases cognitive abilities, such as memory, focus, and learning ability
  • Aids in the improvement of cognitive disorders
  • Boosts mental stamina and concentration


  • More human studies needed to determine the long-term safety profile
  • Not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

Mechanism of Action

Oxiracetam’s mechanism of action, like many nootropics in the racetam family, is complex and not entirely understood.

However, several key aspects of its pharmacology have been identified through scientific research:

  1. Modulation of Neurotransmitter Systems: Oxiracetam appears to influence several neurotransmitter systems in the brain. It does not directly increase the levels of neurotransmitters, but rather modulates their receptors, especially the AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) and NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors.(2) These receptors are critical for synaptic plasticity, a fundamental mechanism for learning and memory.
  2. Enhancing Glutamatergic Transmission: Oxiracetam has been shown to positively modulate the function of AMPA receptors, which are involved in fast excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. By enhancing the action of glutamate at these receptors, Oxiracetam improves cognitive processes such as learning and memory.(3)
  3. Cholinergic System Interaction: Oxiracetam may also interact with the cholinergic system, which is involved in memory and learning. It’s thought to potentiate the release of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter in this system, thereby enhancing cognitive function.(4)
  4. Increased Blood Flow and Metabolism in the Brain: Some studies suggest that Oxiracetam can increase blood flow and energy metabolism in certain regions of the brain. This contributes to its cognitive-enhancing effects by improving the efficiency of oxygen and glucose utilization in brain cells.
  5. Neuroprotective Effects: Oxiracetam has demonstrated potential neuroprotective properties.(5) It may protect neurons from damage due to various forms of stress, such as oxidative stress or excitotoxicity (caused by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters like glutamate).
  6. Stimulation of Synaptic Plasticity and Neuronal Communication: By modulating neurotransmitter receptors and enhancing neuronal communication, oxiracetam may stimulate synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time. This is crucial for the formation of new memories and learning.

Overall, the primary mechanism of action of oxiracetam is thought to involve the modulation of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, including AMPA and NMDA receptors. These receptors play a key role in synaptic transmission and are critical for learning and memory processes.

Oxiracetam thus enhances cognitive function by promoting the release of excitatory neurotransmitters and increasing neuronal communication and plasticity.

Nootropic Benefits of Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam is a potent cognitive enhancer known for its ability to improve brain damage, prevent cognitive deficits, and provide cognitive-enhancing benefits.

To provide more clarity, we have compiled a list of the positive effects of Oxiracetam:

1. Enhanced Memory and Learning

Oxiracetam is reported to support memory formation and facilitate the learning processes within the brain.(6) This is particularly beneficial for students or professionals seeking to improve their learning capabilities and memory retention.

2. Improved Concentration and Focus

Users often report increased levels of concentration and focus, making it easier to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort.

3. Cognitive Enhancement in Cognitive Decline

In some clinical studies, Oxiracetam has shown promise in improving cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairments, including memory loss caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Neuroprotective Properties

Oxiracetam offers protective effects against cognitive damage caused by aging, such as memory deficits or neurodegenerative diseases. This popular nootropic is thus able to slow the progression of cognitive decline to prevent memory impairment.

5. Increased Mental Energy and Alertness

Unlike traditional stimulants, Oxiracetam can increase mental energy and alertness without the jitteriness or crash often associated with caffeine or other stimulants. These high energy levels promote mental stamina and boost productivity levels for students and professionals.

6. Improved Verbal Fluency

Some users have reported enhancements in verbal fluency and communication skills, making it easier to articulate thoughts and engage in conversations.

7. Enhanced Sensory Perception

There are anecdotal reports of Oxiracetam enhancing sensory perception, leading to more vivid and acute sensory experiences.

8. Mood Stabilization

While not its primary use, some individuals have noted a stabilizing effect on mood, contributing to better overall mental well-being.

Uses of Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam, a nootropic agent in the Racetam family, is used for a variety of purposes, primarily related to enhancing cognitive function and brain health. Its uses include:

  1. Cognitive Enhancement: Oxiracetam is popular for its ability to enhance cognitive functions, including memory, learning, and concentration. It is often used by students and professionals looking to improve mental performance.
  2. Treatment of Cognitive Impairments: In clinical settings, oxiracetam has been studied for its potential to treat cognitive impairments associated with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
  3. Improvement of Memory Disorders: It is used to alleviate symptoms of memory disorders, particularly in the elderly, helping to improve both short-term and long-term memory capabilities.
  4. Neuroprotective Agent: Oxiracetam has neuroprotective properties, potentially helping to safeguard neurons from damage due to oxidative stress or other neurotoxic agents.
  5. Enhancing Focus and Attention: Those with attention deficits or individuals seeking to improve their focus and attention span for work or study may use Oxiracetam.
  6. Recovery from Neurological Trauma: There is some evidence to suggest that Oxiracetam can aid in the recovery of cognitive functions following neurological trauma or brain injury.
  7. Enhancing Sensory Perception: Anecdotal reports suggest that Oxiracetam enhances sensory perception, although this is less documented in scientific literature.
  8. Mood and Mental Wellbeing: While not a primary use, some users report improvements in mood and overall mental well-being when taking oxiracetam.

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Oxiracetam Dosage

The appropriate dosage of Oxiracetam can vary based on individual factors such as age, weight, and the specific reasons for use.

However, there are general guidelines that are commonly followed:

  • Standard Dosage: The typical dosage range for oxiracetam is between 800 mg and 2400 mg per day. This dosage is often divided into two or three separate administrations throughout the day.
  • Starting Dosage: For those new to Oxiracetam, it’s advisable to start at the lower end of the dosage range (e.g., 400-800 mg per day) and gradually increase to assess tolerance and effects.
  • Maximum Dosage: Some anecdotal sources suggest not exceeding 2400 mg per day.
  • Duration of Use: Oxiracetam can be used on an as-needed basis or over longer periods. However, the long-term safety of continuous use is not well-documented, so periodic evaluation is recommended.
  • Special Populations: For elderly users or individuals with renal (kidney) impairment, a lower starting dose may be more appropriate.

Oxiracetam Side Effects & Safety

Oxiracetam, like all nootropics and medications, can have side effects, although it is generally considered to be well-tolerated by most users.

It’s important to be aware of these potential side effects and the safety profile of Oxiracetam:

  • Headaches
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Regarding safety, Oxiracetam is considered to be relatively safe when used responsibly and at recommended dosages.

However, as with any supplement, there are several precautions:

  • Long-Term Use: The long-term safety of oxiracetam is not well-established, so caution is advised for prolonged use.
  • Interactions with Other Medications: Oxiracetam may interact with other medications, so it’s important to discuss with a healthcare provider if you are taking any other drugs.


In conclusion, Oxiracetam stands out as a significant player in the realm of nootropics, offering a range of cognitive benefits that make it a popular choice for individuals seeking to enhance memory, focus, and overall brain function.

While its exact mechanism of action remains a topic of ongoing research, its ability to modulate neurotransmitter systems and promote synaptic plasticity is well-recognized.

The potential of Oxiracetam to aid in cognitive impairments, particularly in aging-related conditions like dementia, highlights its therapeutic value.

However, it’s crucial to approach the use of Oxiracetam with caution. The importance of adhering to recommended dosages, being aware of possible side effects, and understanding individual responses cannot be overstated.


How long does Oxiracetam take to work?

The peak effects of oxiracetam are generally experienced within 2 to 3 hours after dosing. This is when users often notice the most significant cognitive enhancements, such as improved memory, learning ability, and sensory perception.

What is the elimination half-life of Oxiracetam?

The elimination half-life of oxiracetam, which is the time it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from the body, is relatively short compared to some other nootropics. The half-life of oxiracetam is typically around 8 to 10 hours.

Should you cycle Oxiracetam?

Yes. Cycling helps maintain the brain’s sensitivity to oxiracetam, ensuring that its cognitive-enhancing effects remain noticeable.

Can I stack Oxiracetam with other nootropics?

Oxiracetam can deplete choline in the brain, leading to headaches. Stacking it with a choline supplement like Alpha GPC or Citicoline can mitigate this side effect and potentially enhance cognitive benefits.

How should I store Oxiracetam?

Store oxiracetam in a cool and dry location. Excessive heat or moisture can degrade the compound, reducing its potency. Room temperature is typically suitable

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Dysken, M W et al. “Oxiracetam in the treatment of multi-infarct dementia and primary degenerative dementia.” The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences vol. 1,3 (1989): 249-52. doi:10.1176/jnp.1.3.249
  2. Nicoletti, F et al. “Excitatory amino acids and neuronal plasticity: modulation of AMPA receptors as a novel substrate for the action of nootropic drugs.” Functional neurology vol. 7,5 (1992): 413-22.
  3. Copani, A et al. “Nootropic drugs positively modulate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid-sensitive glutamate receptors in neuronal cultures.” Journal of neurochemistry vol. 58,4 (1992): 1199-204. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.1992.tb11329.x
  4. Belfiore, P et al. “Oxiracetam prevents the hippocampal cholinergic hypofunction induced by the NMDA receptor blocker AP7.” Neuroscience letters vol. 143,1-2 (1992): 127-30. doi:10.1016/0304-3940(92)90248-6
  5. Zhang, Heng et al. “Oxiracetam Offers Neuroprotection by Reducing Amyloid β-Induced Microglial Activation and Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease.” Frontiers in neurology vol. 11 623. 17 Jul. 2020, doi:10.3389/fneur.2020.00623
  6. Mondadori, C et al. “Effects of oxiracetam on learning and memory in animals: comparison with piracetam.” Clinical neuropharmacology vol. 9 Suppl 3 (1986): S27-38.

Jacob Kovacs is a cognitive neuroscientist and author at WholisticResearch, specializing in nootropics and neuroactive peptides. His expertise in neuroscience and psychopharmacology bridges cognitive science with drug development. Kovacs’ work focuses on enhancing cognitive functions and brain health through innovative, efficient neuroactive compounds that overcome traditional pharmacokinetic challenges. His contributions are pivotal in advancing the understanding and treatment of neurological diseases.