Piracetam vs. Phenylpiracetam: Differences & What’s Better

Updated on February 27, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Article discussing the differences and comparative effects of Piracetam and Phenylpiracetam on brain function.

One of the indisputable means of survival hinges in the modern world is the cranial capacity and brain functions.

Piracetam and Phenylpiracetam are popular compounds that enhance memory, cognition, mental state, and mood.

Before nootropics became available as the mainstream smart drug, people would bank on typical stimulants such as caffeine.

However, it only has stimulating effects without the potentiality of optimizing cognition aside from exhibiting only short-term results.

Piracetam and Phenylpiracetam are the current trends in the nootropics community. Both are not known as smart drugs for anything.

Read on to learn more about these popular nootropics (smart drugs) and what they do.


Discovered in 1964, Piracetam (4-phenylpiracetam) is the original member of the racetam family of synthetic nootropics or “cognitive-enhancing” compounds.

It is believed to be much less potent than other compounds in the “racetam” family.

Its benefits include mild but solid cognitive enhancer, which is very efficient in patients with learning disabilities, as it lowers anxiety and depression and maintains Mitochondria.

Mitochondria create energy for cells. If mitochondria get broken, it can start pumping out free radicals, causing oxidation and damage to the brain.

Piracetam helps broken mitochondria hear the cell’s signal to self destruct and create new, non-broken mitochondria.

The substance has the longest safety record of any racetam.


In 1983, Phenylpiracetam, or otherwise written as phenyl piracetam, was created as a stronger Pramiracetam. It is 30x more potent than Piracetam.

Phenylpiracetam increases tolerance to pain and cold weather. It enhances mood and decreases social anxiety as it exhibits both as anti-convulsant and anti-depressant.

One study recommends taking Phenylpiracetam if you’re going to Siberia or if you’ve tried all the other racetams, and you want to bring out the big guns.

The phenyl group was specially developed for Soviet Cosmonauts in the 1980s to treat prolonged stressful conditions while in space flight.

Despite few clinical trials, people in Russia can access this nootropic, and it is widely obtainable as legal prescription medicine.

Studies have found that Piracetam-like drugs such as Aniracetam and phenyl group Phenylpiracetam are effective in preventing cognitive decline while boosting memory.

This means that they can improve brain function and be an alternative treatment for people who suffer from dementia or stroke.

What are Racetams?

Racetam is a group of synthetic compounds of the nootropic family. It comprises similar chemicals that exhibit identical functions but differ from the other according to the structural formula.

Data shows that the only mutual things in their structures are the two pyrrolidone nucleus, consisting of oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen.

It was discovered in the late 1960s. Since then, more than twenty derivatives have been synthesized.

Some of these compounds have been poorly researched, and they vary in potency and potential mode of action. Below are a common example of these derivatives:

Aniracetam (N-anisoyl-2-pyrrolidinone) is a pyrrolidinone-type cognition enhancer similar to Piracetam and developed around the 1970s. It is 2-5x more potent than Piracetam.

Aniracetam has anti-anxiety, calming, and relaxing effects. It enhances creativity and verbal fluency and may promote lucid dreaming.

Aniracetam also improves confidence in social situations and boosts creativity.

Oxiracetam (2 oxo) is an organooxygen compound and an organonitrogen compound. It derives from an alpha-amino acid. It is a nootropic drug of the racetam family and a very mild stimulant.

Oxiracetam was discovered in 1977, and it has a stimulating and speedy effect, improves focus, and enhances logical thinking.

One study confirmed that Oxiracetam appears to enhance the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, and it can also improve memory formation.

Piracetam vs Phenylpiracetam

According to a study, people often take Phenylpiracetam to get similar results when taking Piracetam or Pramiracetam. These nootropics may provide laser-sharp focus, concentration, and improved long-term memory.

You should take one of these racetams if you’re working on a big project and need to put your head down and get it done.

But due to differences in their laboratory orientation, Piracetam and Phenylpiracetam have well-varied potency, dosage, metabolism, absorption, half-life, and elimination rate.

Mechanisms of Action

Piracetam mechanism influences neuronal and vascular functions. It affects cognitive function without acting as a sedative or stimulant.

Although it is a positive allosteric modulator of the AMPA receptor, this mechanism of action is very weak and may not necessarily mediate well in its clinical effects.

This substance is hypothesized to act on ion channels or ion carriers, leading to increased neuron excitability.

It does not affect GABA metabolism and GABA receptors as it does not cross the blood-brain barrier.

According to research, Piracetam and choline taken together have also been reported to increase memory and cognition in animals. This is because acetylcholine controls cognitive functions and works the same way even when taken with Aniracetam, Pramiracetam, or Oxiracetam.

On the one hand, the structure of Phenylpiracetam makes it able to navigate through the blood-brain barrier.

Due to this, it will only require a small amount of Phenylpiracetam to experience similar effects felt on a typical Piracetam dosage.

One scientific data shows that Phenylpiracetam reverses the depressant effects of the benzodiazepine diazepam and produces a high operant behavior.

It also inhibits post-rotational nystagmus, prevents retrograde amnesia, and has anticonvulsant properties.

What are They Used for and How Do They Work?

Piracetam is most commonly prescribed for breath-holding attacks, seizure disorder (epilepsy), and dizziness (vertigo).

Studies also show that it has been utilized in a learning disorder marked by difficulty reading (dyslexia) and a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia).

Health information well emphasized that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine function via muscarinic cholinergic (Ach) receptors implicated in the memory process improved.

Phenylpiracetam (Phenotropil) is a drug that matches chemicals that may contain choline and helps people counteract depression, traumatic injury, and encephalopathy.

In a nutshell, health studies can confidently rule that this supplementation has excellent neuroprotective properties.

Phenylpiracetam (Phenotropil) clamps down drug-induced amnesia. It exhibits anticonvulsant properties with some general stimulating effects on the nervous system as this compound tones down fear and anxiety.

Although Phenylpiracetam is a stimulant, patients do not fret as it will not bring about jitters, as in the case with amphetamines and caffeine.

Clinically, it is also used to manage epilepsy, ADHD, stroke, or brain injury, and it has been researched for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Besides, Phenylpiracetam increases tolerance and sensitivity to extreme weather conditions. These factors could be the reason why Phenylpiracetam was initially developed for Russian Cosmonauts.

Pilot-cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov described being issued and using Phenylpiracetam. It is included in the Soyuz spacecraft’s standard emergency medical kit during his 197-days working in space aboard the Mir space station.

He reported, “the drug acts as the equalizer of the whole organism, ‘combs’ it completely excluding impulsiveness and irritability inevitable in the stressful conditions of space flight.

Benefits and Side Effects

Researchers still aren’t entirely sure how Piracetam functions. That being said, studies link the drug to several benefits: it boosts brain function, reduces dyslexia symptoms, and protects against myoclonic seizures.

It also reduces dementia and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.

Piracetam’s common side effects include diarrhea, weight gain, drowsiness, insomnia, nervousness, depression, muscle spasm, hyperactivity, and rash.

However, Phenylpiracetam describes the following effects: improvement of regional blood flow in the brain’s ischemic regions and reducing depressive and anxiety disorders.

Phenylpiracetam is psycho activating by increasing pain sensitivity threshold, improving sleep quality, and acting as an anticonvulsant. However, it has an anorexic effect with extended use.

In some cases, patients will experience side effects such as difficulty falling asleep, headaches, and nausea.

Scientific research showed that with prolonged use, one of Phenylpiracetam’s dangers and adverse effects might cause dependency if you increase and take high doses to build tolerance more quickly than any other Racetams.

It is always advisable that people seek medical advice before taking this drug.

Dosage and How to Take

Piracetam is generally available as a powder, but it sometimes comes in premade (pre-packaged and pre-dosed) capsules or pills.

In a “typical” adult dose for cognitive enhancement, drug administration is somewhere between 1,200mg and 4,800mg doses a day, mostly divided into 2 or 3 separate doses, spread out throughout the day.

The average Phenylpiracetam dosage lies within 200mg to 300mg per day.

Take, for example, patients suffering from stroke take a maximum dose of 400mg per day.

For patients suffering from brain disorders, a 200mg dose per day is enough to bring changes to the surface.

The oral administration is done once or twice a week. For a starter, a 50mg dose should be okay. However, experienced users go up to 600mg.

FDA Status and Safety

In 2003, Piracetam failed the New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) filing, a process used to determine novel ingredients’ safety on the market.

It did not meet the definition of a supplement.

In the warning, the FDA reinstates that all racetams are new unapproved drugs since therapeutic information is not available. The same goes for all subsequent racetams.

Thus, they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the labeled uses among experts.

Despite this, racetams continue to be sold online.


Racetams have been the pioneer of nootropics and smart drugs. They are efficient in improving reasoning, comprehension, learning, and memory.

Although some people make a fuss about the side effects, it is quite easy to follow instructions and bypass these negative symptoms.

People taking nootropics report that headaches are frequent, but stacking a Racetam with a choline supplement will solve it.

To be on the safe side, ensure to use a Racetam nootropic that has a scientific back-up, including existent clinical human studies.

Always do your research and check with your health care provider or medical professional before taking any new drugs.