Sunifiram: Review of Nootropic Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects

Updated on March 2, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
Overview of Sunifiram's nootropic benefits, uses, and potential side effects in cognitive enhancement.

Sunifiram is a nootropic drug that has been making waves in the world of cognitive enhancement. This compound, also known as DM-235, is a type of ampakine that works by stimulating the activity of AMPA receptors in the brain.

This AMPA receptor activation leads to enhanced memory formation, increased attention span, and improved mental clarity.

Sunifiram is believed to have potent effects on cognitive function, and some even compare it to other popular nootropics like piracetam, unifiram, and oxiracetam.

In this article, we will explore what sunifiram is, how it works, and what its benefits and drawbacks are.

 We will also take a look at some of the existing research on sunifiram and give you an idea of how safe and effective this supplement really is.

So if you are looking for ways to boost your cognitive abilities or are simply curious about the latest advances in brain science, keep reading!

What is Sunifiram?

Sunifiram (DM235) is an experimental nootropic drug that has been developed with the aim of treating cognitive decline in elderly individuals. Sunifiram came into existence in the early 2000s. It is structurally related to the racetam family of smart drugs and is known for its cognitive enhancement properties. This experimental drug has been the subject of several animal studies aimed at exploring its effects on cognition and memory.

The effects in animal studies have proven the potential sunifiram has to support optimal brain health, as it may increase neuroli=ogical activity.(1)

It is a piperazine-derived ampakine-like drug, which means it works by acting on AMPA receptors in the brain to enhance cognitive function. (2) Sunifiram has anti-amnesiac properties and is able to facilitate acetylcholine acetylcholine release in vitro studies using the cerebral cortex of a rat.(3)

When it comes to health and safety, approved use and dosage limits, the potential risks are still being looked into. Although each animal study has been successful, there is a need for studies that involve human test subjects that can show the true safety of the compounds in sunifiram. This will need to be done first before the FDA can approve sunifiram supplements.

Studies reported that sunifiram is 4 times more potent than piracetam, one of the most popular nootropic drugs for improving the memory and learning functions of the brain.

While available research shows that Sunifiram is still in the experimental stages and has not yet been approved for medical use, it has shown promising results in both human studies and animal studies. The nootropic effects found in animal studies prove to be beneficial in improving cognitive defects in mice, leading to the benefits of decreased depression.(4)

Additionally, when using hippocampal slices from a mouse to analyze nootropic activity, it was found that Sunifiram stimulates the glycine-binding site of NMDA receptors, leading to improved brain function.(5)

There is ongoing scientific research being done to better understand sunifiram and its potential to treat cognitive deficits (such as amnesia) and neurodegenerative diseases (such as Parkinson’s). 


  • Significantly higher potency than piracetam
  • Exerts anti-amnesiac properties
  • Low toxicity profile
  • Acts via the AMPA receptor
  • May improve memory deficits
  • Shows anti-amnesiac activity


  • Limited testing and research available
  • Mechanism of action is not fully understood

While more research and human trials are needed for definitive conclusions regarding its use, Sunifiram as a nootropic represents a novel addition to the array of available cognitive enhancers.

The effects of Sunifiram, its high potency, and its unique mechanisms of action make it a topic of interest for further study in cognitive enhancement.

Sunifiram’s Mechanism of Action

Sunifiram, an experimental drug, has a unique way of working in our bodies. This compound stimulates AMPA receptors and enhances neurotransmitter release in the brain. These receptors are a type of protein that helps nerve cells communicate with each other. 

When Sunifiram binds to these receptors, it ramps up their activity big time, and leads to spontaneous motility inspection activity.(6)  

  1. Increased motility inspection activity revealed this nootropic’s ability to stimulate neurons and therefore improve cognitive functions. 
  2. For instance, one study found participants who took Sunifiram performed better on memory tests than those who didn’t.

The potential effects of AMPA stimulation by Sunifiram could be game-changing in the world of medicinal chemistry. Another crucial part of Sunifiram’s mechanism is its ability to enhance neurotransmitter release in the brain.

Neurotransmitters are chemical compounds that transmit signals from one neuron to another. By boosting their release, Sunifiram allows more signals to pass through the brain at once. This results in faster information processing and improved mental agility. 

Some studies suggest this cognitive effect might also help alleviate symptoms associated with conditions like ADHD and depression. This aspect of Sunifiram’s action is novel, and demonstrates its potential as a potent inhibitor for certain mental health issues.

Sunifiram also increases glutamate uptake and activity in the brain. Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter involved in excitatory synaptic transmission activity. More glutamate means more communication between neurons and receptors.

There’s evidence suggesting higher glutamate levels may increase learning abilities and memory retention, making sunifiram a great nootropic to use for studying. Increased glutamate activity may also play a role in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, leading to improved cognitive function.

Additionally, sunifiram has demonstrated an ability to stimulate the inhibition of glucose transport by barbiturates (e.g: Pentobarbital and Diazepam). This shows neuroprotective potential, which correlates with laboratory research using rat models. This research shows sunifiram’s potential ability to reverse scopolamine-induced memory deficits.(7)

Sunifiram promotes synaptic plasticity – the ability of synapses (connections between neurons) to strengthen or weaken over time. This process stimulates activity with receptors that are vital for learning and memory.

Sunifiram’s promotion of synaptic plasticity could potentially improve cognitive functions, especially in older adults. 

There is ongoing research with this drug through clinical trials exploring these benefits for AMPA receptors and synaptic brain function. This will allow us to get a clearer perspective of its true safety profile and potential side effects.

Overall, Sunifiram is structurally similar to piracetam, and some researchers have hypothesized that it may work similarly through modulating cholinergic and glutamatergic receptors.(8)

Sunifiram is a derived ampakine-like drug that has been found to have similar properties to nefiracetam in the hippocampus, further supporting its potential as a cognitive enhancer.(9)

Despite the uncertainty surrounding its precise mechanism of action, intended laboratory research using preliminary animal studies has consistently shown Sunifiram’s ability to improve memory and learning functions of the brain.

Overall, Sunifirman is one of the most promising nootropics (also known as ‘smart drugs’) for those looking to enhance their cognitive function and avoid neurological decline, such as memory impairment. 

Nootropic Benefits of Sunifiram

Sunifiram, a potent nootropic drug, offers several cognitive benefits.

Let’s delve into the specifics of these advantages.

Improvement in Memory and Cognitive Function

Sunifiram has shown promising results in improving memory and cognitive function. Many studies have indicated that this nootropic drug enhances learning abilities and memory retention in impaired or unimpaired individuals.

Sunifiram has been found to increase memory disruption induced by various drugs, including scopolamine. Additionally, it is believed to affect cellular energy use in the brain, resulting in an increase in alertness and energy levels.

With its potential for assisting in treating cognitive impairment and neurodegenerative diseases, Sunifiram is a promising drug for improving cognitive function.

Enhances Focus and Attention Span

Another notable benefit of Sunifiram is its ability to boost focus and extend attention span.

You might notice being able to concentrate on tasks longer without feeling mentally drained.

Or perhaps you’ll find it easier to tune out distractions when working or studying.

This effect can be attributed to Sunifiram’s influence on glutamate receptors in the brain which plays a key role in maintaining focus and attention.

Increase in Alertness and Energy Levels

One of the benefits of taking Sunifiram includes an increase in alertness and energy levels.

As an ampakine, Sunifiram may enhance mental focus and concentration, making it an ideal supplement for those who require increased attention and productivity throughout the day.

Moreover, this nootropic drug’s potential for increasing energy levels makes it an exciting development in the world of nootropics, and it may prove beneficial for individuals who experience fatigue and lethargy.

Assistance in Treating Cognitive Impairment

Sunifiram has shown promising results in assisting with treating cognitive impairment. It is believed to work by activating CaM kinase II and protein kinase C in the brain, which can help improve cognitive function.

Studies have shown that sunifiram can help with memory retention, increase alertness and energy levels, and potentially treat neurodegenerative diseases. 

Potential for Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases

Sunifiram has shown promising potential in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Due to its ability to enhance cognitive function by binding to the glycine site of NMDARs, sunifiram has been studied in relation to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and other cognitive impairments.

Additionally, sunifiram has been shown to prevent amnesia induced by certain drugs, indicating its potential in the treatment of dementia.

Further, studies involving mice have suggested that sunifiram may also have potential in treating neuropsychiatric diseases, such as mild cognitive impairment.

Uses of Sunifiram

Sunifiram, a potent nootropic, has found its way into various spheres of life. From students to professionals and athletes, it’s become a go-to for cognitive enhancement.

Studying can be a real drag sometimes. Your brain just doesn’t want to cooperate! That’s where sunifiram comes in handy. This little magic pill aids students in focusing better on their studies.

Another potential use for Sunifiram is assisting in the treatment of cognitive impairment, such as those seen in degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Lastly, some studies suggest that Sunifiram may have neuroprotective effects. This means it could potentially guard your brain cells against damage or degeneration.

Where to Buy Sunifiram

Sunifiram is celebrated for its main effects (ability to improve cognition, protect brain cells, and enhance memory abilities), but it isn’t a product that’s readily available in your typical brick-and-mortar stores.

So, where can you buy it?

The internet is your best bet for purchasing sunifiram. Many online vendors specialize in selling nootropics and have a wide range of products, including sunifiram.

  1. These vendors often offer different forms of the product such as capsules, powder, or sublingual drops.
  2. They also provide detailed information about each product, which can help you make an informed decision.
  3. You can compare prices and reviews from different vendors before making a purchase.

However, be cautious when shopping online. Not all vendors are reliable and some may sell counterfeit or low-quality products.

In some countries like Japan and Italy, sunifiram can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription.

If you’re traveling abroad or live in a country where sunifiram is sold over-the-counter, it might be worth checking out local pharmacies.

While sunifiram has gained popularity among nootropic enthusiasts, it’s still considered niche by many retailers.

Therefore, if you prefer buying from physical stores instead of online shopping – finding sunifiram might prove challenging.

Sunifiram Dosage

Sunifiram is no joke, folks. This potent nootropic can give your brain a real leg up.

But here’s the kicker – you’ve got to know your limits.

Most people find that a dosage between 5-10mg per day does the trick.

  • If you’re new to this, start with 5mg.
  • Once you’re comfortable, try bumping it up to 10mg.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Sunifiram Side Effects & Safety

There are no nootropics that are free of any potential for negative effects, so it’s vital to stay informed. 

Sunifiram has been reported to have some potential side effects, especially when used in high doses.

(10) Some of the commonly reported side effects include headache, hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, and manic feelings. Additionally, users have reported minor and temporary side effects such as increased body temperature, perspiration, salivation, and nasal congestion.

These side effects are not often experienced when used within the recommended 5-10mg dosage range. 

It is important to note that while sunifiram is fit for human consumption, it has not been extensively studied in humans, and long-term effects remain unknown. If you experience any adverse reactions while using Sunifiram, it is advisable to discontinue use and seek medical attention immediately. 

As with any nootropic, it is essential to stick to the recommended dosage and consult a physician before use.


Sunifiram, as a potent nootropic, holds significant potential for cognitive enhancement. Its mechanism of action and benefits have been explored extensively. Overall, sunifiram has the potential to promote potentiation (a continual strengthening of synapses in recently-used neuropathways).

The information provided here aims to assist you in making an informed decision about incorporating Sunifiram into your health regimen. It’s crucial to consider factors such as dosage, side effects, and safety before purchasing.


How long does Sunifiram take to work?

Sunifiram starts working relatively quickly, typically within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion of the correct dosage. However, the exact response time of this drug may vary based on individual differences and the dosage taken.

What is the elimination half-life of Sunifiram?

The half-life of Sunifiram is relatively short, typically around 1-2 hours. This means that the cognitive effects of the novel sunifiram nootropic can wear off fairly quickly, necessitating regular dosing for sustained benefits.

Should you cycle Sunifiram?

Yes, cycling Sunifiram is recommended for optimal synaptic effects without unwanted side effects causing harm to your health. This means taking it for a certain period, then taking a break before starting again. This helps to prevent tolerance build-up and potential side effects from long-term supplementation, allowing for better safety of use.

Can I stack Sunifiram with other nootropics?

Yes, Sunifiram can be stacked with other nootropics an ultimate activation of cognition. However, it’s important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new stack to ensure safety and effectiveness.

How should I store Sunifiram?

Sunifiram is a nootropic drug that should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of sunlight. It is also important to keep it out of reach of children and pets. If stored correctly, Sunifiram has a shelf life of about two years.

Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Moriguchi, Shigeki et al. “Novel nootropic drug sunifiram enhances hippocampal synaptic efficacy via glycine-binding site of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.” Hippocampus vol. 23,10 (2013): 942-51. doi:10.1002/hipo.22150 ↩
  2. Arai, A C, and M Kessler. “Pharmacology of ampakine modulators: from AMPA receptors to synapses and behavior.” Current drug targets vol. 8,5 (2007): 583-602. doi:10.2174/138945007780618490 ↩
  3. Romanelli, M N et al. “Pharmacological characterization of DM232 (unifiram) and DM235 (sunifiram), new potent cognition enhancers.” CNS drug reviews vol. 12,1 (2006): 39-52. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2006.00039.x ↩
  4. Moriguchi, Shigeki et al. “Novel nootropic drug sunifiram improves cognitive deficits via CaM kinase II and protein kinase C activation in olfactory bulbectomized mice.” Behavioural brain research vol. 242 (2013): 150-7. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.12.054 ↩
  5. Moriguchi, Shigeki et al. “Novel nootropic drug sunifiram enhances hippocampal synaptic efficacy via glycine-binding site of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.” Hippocampus vol. 23,10 (2013): 942-51. doi:10.1002/hipo.22150 ↩
  6. Galeotti, N et al. “AMPA-receptor activation is involved in the antiamnesic effect of DM 232 (unifiram) and DM 235 (sunifiram).” Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s archives of pharmacology vol. 368,6 (2003): 538-45. doi:10.1007/s00210-003-0812-6 ↩
  7. Romanelli, M N et al. “Pharmacological characterization of DM232 (unifiram) and DM235 (sunifiram), new potent cognition enhancers.” CNS drug reviews vol. 12,1 (2006): 39-52. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2006.00039.x ↩
  8. Moriguchi, Shigeki et al. “Novel nootropic drug sunifiram enhances hippocampal synaptic efficacy via glycine-binding site of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor.” Hippocampus vol. 23,10 (2013): 942-51. doi:10.1002/hipo.22150 ↩
  9. Moriguchi, Shigeki, et al. “Novel Nootropic Drug Sunifiram Improves Cognitive Deficits via Cam Kinase II and Protein Kinase C Activation in Olfactory Bulbectomized Mice.” Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 242, 2013, pp. 150–157., ↩
  10. Manetti, D et al. “Molecular simplification of 1,4-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]nonan-9-ones gives piperazine derivatives that maintain high nootropic activity.” Journal of medicinal chemistry vol. 43,23 (2000): 4499-507. doi:10.1021/jm000972h ↩