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Chemical structure of piracetam - the archetypal racetam.

Racetams are a class of compounds that share a pyrrolidone nucleus.[1] Many, including piracetam, are considered to be nootropics. Some such as oxiracetam and phenylpiracetam are also stimulants. Others such as levetiracetam and seletracetam are anticonvulsants.

Generally, racetams upregulate and preserve adequate levels of acetylcholine as a primary mechanism, suggesting they can aid recovery from deliriant intoxication and other typically cognitively impaired states.[2]



  1. Piracetam and levetiracetam, two pyrrolidone derivatives, exert antidystonic activity in a hamster model of paroxysmal dystonia. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10729365
  2. Piracetam and piracetam-like drugs: from basic science to novel clinical applications to CNS disorders. | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20166767