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|Summary sheet: Piracetam|
|Substitutive name||Avigilen, Memo-Puren, Nootron, Nootrop, Nootropil, Nootropyl, Normabrain, Norzetam|
|Routes of Administration|
Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide) is a nootropic drug in the racetams group which is a derivative of GABA. Piracetam was first synthesized in 1964 by Corneliu E. Giurgea and other scientists at the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB. As a "smart drug", it is reported to enhance cognitive functions including memory, intelligence, and attention.
In the U.K., piracetam is prescribed mainly for myoclonus (spasmodic jerky contraction of groups of muscles), but is used off-label for other conditions. In the United States, it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for any medical use and it is not permitted to be sold as a dietary supplement. However, it is still readily available and sold through online vendors.
Piracetam's dosage is 100x less potent than that of noopept, making it both the earliest and least potent racetam. The standard piracetam dose for adults is between 1,200-4,800mg a day. The largest effective dose is 1,600mg taken three times a day for a total of 4,800mg.
Piracetam, or 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine-acetamide, is a synthetic compound of the racetam family. Racetams share a pyrrolidine nucleus, a five member nitrogenous ring with a ketone bonded oxygen at R2. This 2-pyrrolidone ring is bound to the terminal carbon of an acetamide group, an ethyl amide chain with a ketone bond (C=O) at the alpha carbon.
Piracetam shares structural similarity to the neurotransmitter GABA, its pyrrolidine core is the cyclic counterpart of GABA and could theoretically be converted into an acetamide chain through a hydrolysis reaction into GABA.
Piracetam's mechanism of action, as with racetams in general, is not fully understood. The drug influences neuronal and vascular functions and influences cognitive function without acting as a sedative or stimulant. Piracetam is a positive allosteric modulator of the AMPA receptor. It is hypothesized to act on ion channels or ion carriers, thus leading to increased neuron excitability. GABA brain metabolism and GABA receptors are not affected by piracetam.
Among other things, it has also been found to increase blood flow and oxygen consumption in parts of the brain, but this may be a side effect of increased brain activity rather than a primary effect or mechanism of action for the drug. Piracetam also improves the function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine via muscarinic cholinergic (ACh) receptors, which are implicated in memory processes.
Although it is not fully understood how, it's these multiple complex mechanisms of action which result in piracetams nootropic effects.
The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. These effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances of inducing a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death.
Toxicity and harm potential
Adverse effects, although rare and of short duration are limited to anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, headaches and agitation. It may be safe for up to 18 months in humans at doses of 3.2g daily with one year-long study in ambulatory patients with Alzheimer's using 8g daily reporting no side effects. However, a possibility for adverse drug-drug interactions persists for piracetam due to it interacting with blood in an anti-clotting manner (and such, caution should be taken when pairing piracetam with pharmaceutical blood thinning agents such as Warfarin or potent nutraceutical options).
No fatal overdoses associated with piracetam use have been reported as of 2016. In animal models (rodents, dogs, and marmoset), an LD50 failed to be established at the dosage of 8-10g/kg.
Regardless, it is strongly recommended that one use harm reduction practices when using this drug.
The median lethal dosage (LD50) of piracetam has not been officially published as it has low abuse potential, but the typical dosage is two grams once to three times a day.
Tolerance and addiction potential
The chronic use of piracetam can be considered as not addictive with a low potential for abuse. It does not seem to be capable of causing psychological dependence among certain users.
Tolerance to many of the effects of piracetam develops with prolonged and repeated use. This results in users having to administer increasingly large doses to achieve the same effects. After that, it takes about 3 - 7 days for the tolerance to be reduced to half and 1 - 2 weeks to be back at baseline (in the absence of further consumption). Piracetam may presents cross-tolerance with all racetam nootropics, meaning that after the consumption of piracetam certain nootropicss such as noopept and pramiracetam may have a reduced effect.
Piracetam showed nonselective MAO activity in a rat study. Piracetam and MAOIs are a potentially dangerous combination. It is likely that MAOIs could increase the effects of piracetam unpredictably. Taking this chemical while on prescription MAOIs is strongly discouraged.
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Piracetam, being a member of the racetam family, currently is legally available to buy and sell in most countries, but may still vary by region.
- United Kingdom - Piracetam and other racetams are prescription only drugs; however, there is no penalty for possession or importing them.
- New Zealand - Piracetam is considered a prescription drug, and as such will be seized by the Ministry of Health. It is not able to be imported without a signed note from a doctor.
- Piracetam FAQ - Fooling the Bladder Cops by Christ Schoon (maintained by Erowid) | https://www.erowid.org/smarts/piracetam/piracetam_faq.shtml
- Nootropil (piracetam) - Net Doctor | http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/100001864.html
- Piracetam and piracetam-like drugs: from basic science to novel clinical applications to CNS disorders. | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20166767
- Piracetam: a review of pharmacological properties and clinical uses (NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16007238
- Piracetam defines a new binding site for allosteric modulators of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors (NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20163115
- Piracetam and other structurally related nootropics (NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8061686
- The nootropic concept and its prospective implications | http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ddr.430020505/abstract;jsessionid=B9BF0E3214F13C8DD3692A776A0A5B78.f02t01
- Cerebral blood flow effects of piracetam, pentifylline, and nicotinic acid in the baboon model compared with the known effect of acetazolamide (NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8876930
- Piracetam--an old drug with novel properties? (NCBI) | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16459490
- Long-term efficacy and safety of piracetam in the treatment of progressive myoclonus epilepsy. | http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11346373