Piracetam: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, Dosage, & Side Effects

Updated on March 13, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Overview of Piracetam's nootropic benefits, uses, dosage, and side effects.

Want to improve cognition with one of the most popular nootropics?

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Piracetam (sold under the brand name Nootropil in some regions) is the first nootropic drug within the racetam family. Its chemical name is 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide. It is related to pyroglutamic acid, which has the same 2-oxo-pyrrolidone base structure.

Piracetam is a popular nootropic supplement because of its ability to improve concentration, memory, and overall cognitive performance. It’s also able to increase blood flow to the brain and heart. It may even provide neuroprotection.

In this Piracetam review, we’ll take an in-depth look at this popular nootropic. We’ll also discuss how piracetam works in the brain, its beneficial effects, side effects, and where to buy piracetam online.

What is Piracetam?

Piracetam belongs to the racetam family of nootropics and is a chemical derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA, 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide. 

Piracetam is often considered the first nootropic drug, or the original racetam, known for its potential benefits in enhancing memory, cognition, and brain function.

Piracetam therapy is approved in some countries for medical use, primarily in the treatment of cognitive disorders and anemia. Piracetam is prescribed to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or cognitive impairment (learning difficulties).(1)

One of the key beneficial effects of piracetam as a dietary supplement is its ability to improve the fluidity of platelet membranes, particularly in the cerebral blood vessels and red blood cells. By doing this, piracetam improves blood flow to the brain, potentially benefiting cognitive function and improving brain health. 

Some research suggests that the use of piracetam may also have neuroprotective effects and can improve mitochondrial function.

While there is evidence to support the use of piracetam in some medical conditions, including dementia and cognitive decline, piracetam has not been approved for use by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for medical or dietary use.

However, Piracetam is sold as a dietary supplement and is available to be purchased online as an over-the-counter nootropic (smart drug). 

It’s important to note that the efficacy and safety of piracetam may vary from person to person, and more research and clinical studies are needed to determine its full range of beneficial effects.


  • Improves cognitive function, including memory, learning, and problem-solving skills
  • Helps restore cell membrane fluidity
  • May have neuroprotective and anticonvulsant effects
  • Improves attention span and boosts the ability to focus


  • Lack of FDA approval (in the United States)
  • Limited research on the safety profile of long-term use

Mechanism of Action

Piracetam was first synthesized in 1964 by Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea as a new drug to treat motion sickness. However, piracetam was found to have more pharmacological benefits and has become one of the most researched racetams, with multiple human studies conducted.

Piracetam increases the activity within neurotransmitter systems, including the GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) system and the cholinergic system.(2) Dr. Winblad found that this may cause improved cognitive function, reduction of learning difficulties, vertigo, and resolution of memory problems.

Piracetam may improve the stimulation of ion channels within the cell membrane. As piracetam interacts with the polar heads of phospholipids, it might modulate the function of ion channels, including calcium channels. This modulation may cause an increase in neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission.(3)

Piracetam also improves the fluidity of platelet membranes, which may improve the exchange of oxygen and nutrients between the bloodstream and brain cells.

This suggests that piracetam promotes better brain function and cognitive performance, making piracetam a potential treatment for children with Down Syndrome or learning difficulties.(4)

Piracetam may have neuroprotective properties, helping to protect brain cells from damage caused by various factors, including oxidative stress and neurodegenerative diseases. This neuroprotection could contribute to improved cognitive health, particularly in elderly communities.

It’s important to note that the exact mechanisms of piracetam’s interactions with cell membranes are still a subject of ongoing research, and there may be multiple pathways through which it affects membrane fluidity and function.(5)

Additionally, piracetam’s ability to influence membrane function and fluidity can vary among individuals and may depend on factors such as dosage and the specific phospholipids present in cell membranes.

Nootropic Benefits of Piracetam

Piracetam is a nootropic compound that has been studied for its potential cognitive-enhancing properties. While individual responses may vary, some of the potential benefits of piracetam use include the following.

1. Cognitive Enhancement

Research, including a study published by J Grimmely Evens and Dr. Flicker, suggests that piracetam may be used to treat cognitive impairment.(6)

While the results are not uniform across all studies, some evidence indicates that it can benefit cognitive abilities, especially in individuals with cognitive decline who are experiencing memory loss.(7)

While piracetam is often used to treat specific medical conditions, some healthy people also use it as a cognitive enhancer to potentially enhance cognitive performance and improve memory.

3. Boosts Focus and Concentration

Piracetam is thought to interact with neurotransmitter systems, including the cholinergic and glutamatergic systems.(8) These interactions can affect neuronal communication and synaptic plasticity, potentially enhancing cognitive processes.

This can potentially lead to improved mental clarity and alertness, which may support better focus and concentration.

4. Reduction in Erythrocyte Aggregation

Piracetam has been observed to reduce the aggregation (clumping) of erythrocytes (red blood cells), which can improve blood flow and circulation within the brain. This may include an improvement in blood flow to the heart.

5. Reduced Risk of Seizures

Piracetam has neuroprotective and anticonvulsant effects, which means it may reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in individuals with certain seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.(9)

Similar to levetiracetam (another nootropic drug), piracetam is sometimes prescribed to manage seizures.

6. Promotes Brain Health and Provides Neuroprotection

Some studies and research suggest that piracetam may have an influence on the production of cytokines and the immune system.(10) Piracetam may potentially reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are associated with inflammation and immune responses. 

Additionally, by protecting brain cells and reducing neuronal damage, Piracetam may mitigate the release of certain cytokines associated with neuroinflammation.

Some studies have explored the use of piracetam in specific medical conditions, such as sickle cell disease, where cytokine production can be altered.

Uses of Piracetam

Piracetam is most commonly used to enhance cognition and protect against cognitive decline, particularly for elderly individuals. Piracetam has also been shown to reduce symptoms of cognitive impairment following a stroke, head trauma, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Here is a brief overview of the potential uses of piracetam:

  • Treatment of Breath-Holding Spells in Children: Piracetam has been explored as a potential treatment for breath-holding spells, particularly in children who experience these involuntary episodes. It may help reduce the frequency and severity of these spells and seizures.
  • Enhanced Memory: Piracetam is often associated with improvements in memory, including both short-term and long-term memory recall. It may help people to remember information more effectively.
  • Improved Learning Abilities: Users of piracetam have reported enhanced learning abilities, making it easier to acquire new knowledge and skills.
  • Increased Cognitive Function: Piracetam may enhance various aspects of cognitive function, including attention, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Some individuals experience improved mental clarity and focus.
  • Enhanced Blood Flow: Piracetam is believed to improve cerebral blood flow, which can enhance oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain. This may contribute to improved brain function.
  • Management of Certain Conditions: Piracetam is sometimes used in the treatment of various medical conditions, including epilepsy, myoclonus, and cognitive impairment. In 2001, the well-respected peer-reviewed journal JAMA Neurology published a study concluding that Piracetam is an effective remedy for myoclonus epilepsy when used as an add-on therapy. This treatment was sustained and tolerated by patients with progressive myoclonus epilepsy who experienced increasing efficacy over the first 12 months of use before stabilizing.(11)
  • Neuroprotection: Piracetam has been suggested to have neuroprotective properties, potentially protecting brain cells from damage caused by factors such as aging and oxidative stress
  • Potential Treatment for Dyslexia: Some individuals with dyslexia have reported improvements in reading and writing abilities with piracetam use. One study evaluated Piracetam’s effects on verbal and non-verbal cognitive functioning in children with dyslexia. After only 12 weeks of treatment, significant improvements could already be seen in reading ability (Gray Oral Reading Test) and comprehension (Gilmore Oral Reading Test). These positive results persisted for the whole duration of 36 weeks.(12)
  • Recovery Following Stroke: In some cases, piracetam has been administered to individuals undergoing coronary bypass surgery or recovering from a stroke. It may assist in the recovery process by promoting blood flow and potentially aiding in neurological rehabilitation.

Where To Buy Piracetam

When it comes to purchasing Piracetam online, it’s important to make sure you buy your products from a reliable and trusted vendor.

Buying nootropic drugs from unknown sources may lead to decreased product quality, or even products that contain false ingredients. Always check for reviews before making any purchase.

Our top pick for the best vendor to purchase piracetam online from is Science.Bio. This website has third-party tested nootropics (smart drugs) and research chemicals, along with an excellent reputation. 

Science.Bio also provides worldwide shipping, which is free for orders over $100.

Piracetam Dosage

A dose of piracetam is usually sold in tablet, capsule, or powder form. To take it for cognitive enhancement, it’s best to start with a smaller dose and then increase it over time as you become more familiar with its effects.

Piracetam is usually taken 2 or 3 times daily and can be taken on either an empty or full stomach, depending on individual preference.

The typical mg of piracetam per day can vary, but it often ranges from 40-100 mg per kilogram of body weight, and it is usually taken orally. 

However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before you take piracetam or any new dietary supplement or nootropic regimen. Individual dosage requirements may differ, and there can be potential drug interactions or adverse effects.

For optimal results, it’s important to stack Piracetam with choline supplements so your brain can access enough acetylcholine (ACh).

Piracetam Side Effects and Safety

Piracetam is considered safe and well-tolerated for many users, but like any substance, it may have potential side effects and safety considerations.

Some of the most common side effects and safety factors associated with piracetam use may include:

  1. Gastrointestinal Disturbances: Diarrhea may occur after a dose of piracetam as it is one of the most reported side effects. Some individuals may experience only mild digestive discomfort.
  2. Psychological Side Effects: In some cases, piracetam may lead to psychological side effects such as agitation, nervousness, or increased anxiety. These effects may vary among individuals and could be more likely to occur at higher dosages.
  3. Potential for Seizure Crisis: There is a risk that piracetam use could lead to a seizure crisis if taken at very high doses or without medical supervision.


In conclusion, this review of piracetam provides insight into the potential benefits, mechanisms of action, and safety considerations associated with this nootropic compound.

Piracetam, the first racetam, has generated significant interest for its potential cognitive-enhancing effects, including improvements in memory, learning, and focus.

Piracetam’s potential as a treatment for medical conditions, including seizure disorders and cognitive decline, has been explored in clinical settings. However, its use for cognitive enhancement in healthy people remains a popular method for students and professionals looking to enhance their productivity.

However, it’s vital to consult with a healthcare provider before you take piracetam in order to avoid unwanted side effects from unregulated dosages.


How long does piracetam take to work?

Piracetam generally starts working within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion. However, it might take several weeks of continuous use to notice significant cognitive improvements.

What is the elimination half-life of piracetam?

The elimination half-life of piracetam is approximately 5 hours. This means that it takes around 5 hours for 50% of the substance to be cleared from your system.

Should you cycle piracetam?

While piracetam doesn’t generally lead to tolerance, some users prefer to cycle it. This could involve taking it for 4-6 weeks, then taking a break for 1-2 weeks.

Can I stack piracetam with other compounds?

Yes, piracetam can be stacked with other nootropics for increased effectiveness. Common stacks include piracetam combined with choline. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a new stack.

How should I store piracetam?

Piracetam should be stored in a cool, dry place away from light. Keep it in its original packaging until use to prevent degradation.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Rao, Mukund G et al. “Piracetam treatment in patients with cognitive impairment.” General hospital psychiatry vol. 35,4 (2013): 451.e5-6. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2012.05.009 ↩
  2. Winblad, Bengt. “Piracetam: a review of pharmacological properties and clinical uses.” CNS drug reviews vol. 11,2 (2005): 169-82. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2005.tb00268.x ↩
  3. Evers, S, and K H Grotemeyer. “Piracetam and platelets–a review of laboratory and clinical data.” Pharmacopsychiatry vol. 32 Suppl 1 (1999): 44-8. doi:10.1055/s-2007-979236 ↩
  4. Moran, Timothy H et al. “The effects of piracetam on cognitive performance in a mouse model of Down’s syndrome.” Physiology & behavior vol. 77,2-3 (2002): 403-9. doi:10.1016/s0031-9384(02)00873-9 ↩
  5. Winnicka, Katarzyna et al. “Piracetam–an old drug with novel properties?.” Acta poloniae pharmaceutica vol. 62,5 (2005): 405-9. ↩
  6. Flicker, L, and J Grimley Evans. “Piracetam for dementia or cognitive impairment.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews ,2 (2000): CD001011. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001011 ↩
  7. Tariska, P, and A Paksy. “A piracetam tünetjavító hatása enyhe kognitív zavar és demencia tünetcsoportjában szenvedó betegeken” [Cognitive enhancement effect of piracetam in patients with mild cognitive impairment and dementia]. Orvosi hetilap vol. 141,22 (2000): 1189-93. ↩
  8. Bering, B, and W E Müller. “Interaction of piracetam with several neurotransmitter receptors in the central nervous system. Relative specificity for 3H-glutamate sites.” Arzneimittel-Forschung vol. 35,9 (1985): 1350-2. ↩
  9. Fischer, W et al. “Effects of piracetam alone and in combination with antiepileptic drugs in rodent seizure models.” Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) vol. 111,9 (2004): 1121-39. doi:10.1007/s00702-004-0155-6 ↩
  10. Navarro, Suelen A et al. “Analgesic activity of piracetam: effect on cytokine production and oxidative stress.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 105 (2013): 183-92. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2013.02.018 ↩
  11. Fedi, M et al. “Long-term efficacy and safety of piracetam in the treatment of progressive myoclonus epilepsy.” Archives of neurology vol. 58,5 (2001): 781-6. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.5.781 ↩
  12. Greenberg, Daphne et al. “Measuring adult literacy students’ reading skills using the Gray Oral Reading Test.” Annals of dyslexia vol. 59,2 (2009): 133-49. doi:10.1007/s11881-009-0027-8 ↩