Last Updated: June 29 2022

cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-choline; citicoline) is a nootropic compound that converts to both choline and cytidine upon ingestion, the latter of which converts into uridine in the body. It appears to confer cognitive-promoting properties as a prodrug for these two compounds.

CDP-Choline is most often used for


CDP-choline is a nootropic compound that is essentially a prodrug for both choline and uridine, conferring both of those molecules to the body following oral ingestion of CDP-Choline. Specifically, the CDP-choline dissociates into choline and cytidine, with the cytidine then converting into uridine. CDP-choline is one of the three choline-containing phospholipids that can be orally supplemented (the other two being Alpha-GPC and phosphatidylcholine).

This supplement is catered towards preventing or treating memory impairments associated with aging due to the fact that both of the molecules it confers are neuroprotective and potentially enhance learning. While it appears to be more effective than phosphatidylcholine (PC) at this role, in part due to also increasing PC synthesis in the brain, its potency is somewhat comparable to that of Alpha-GPC.

CDP-choline has some other potential uses in relation to cognition. It is commonly used as a memory enhancer in youth, but despite some rodent studies suggesting that this is possible with oral CDP-choline, there are no human studies in youth at this point in time. One study has noted an increase in attention with low dose CDP-choline (which needs to be replicated), and CDP-choline may have roles as an anti-addictive compound against both cocaine and (preliminary evidence suggests) food as well.

What else is CDP-Choline known as?
Note that CDP-Choline is also known as:
  • Citicholine
  • Cytidine Diphosphocholine
CDP-Choline should not be confused with:
  • Choline (CDP-choline contains some choline
  • but is not exclusively choline)
  • Uridine (similar in function to CDP-choline)
Dosage information

Standard dosing of CDP-choline is to take 500-2,000 mg in two divided doses (of 250-1,000 mg) usually separated by 8-12 hours, although a single daily dose is also sometimes used. A single dose of 4,000 mg does not appear to affect the blood any differently than 2,000 mg, and so it is not necessary to take such a high dose.

There are some properties, such as attention-promotion or improving bioenergetics, that seem to respond exclusively or more strongly to the lower dosage range. Other properties like appetite are the opposite, and thus the ideal dosage depends somewhat on the goal.

Examine Database
1.^[No authors listedCiticoline. MonographAltern Med Rev.(2008 Mar)
2.^Bracken BK, Penetar DM, Rodolico J, Ryan ET, Lukas SEEight weeks of citicoline treatment does not perturb sleep/wake cycles in cocaine-dependent adultsPharmacol Biochem Behav.(2011 Jun)
5.^Vance JE, Vance DEPhospholipid biosynthesis in mammalian cellsBiochem Cell Biol.(2004 Feb)
6.^Fagone P, Jackowski SPhosphatidylcholine and the CDP-choline cycleBiochim Biophys Acta.(2013 Mar)
7.^Aoyama C, Liao H, Ishidate KStructure and function of choline kinase isoforms in mammalian cellsProg Lipid Res.(2004 May)
8.^Wu G, Vance DECholine kinase and its functionBiochem Cell Biol.(2010 Aug)
9.^Jansen SM, Groener JE, Bax W, Suter A, Saftig P, Somerharju P, Poorthuis BJBiosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine from a phosphocholine precursor pool derived from the late endosomal/lysosomal degradation of sphingomyelinJ Biol Chem.(2001 Jun 1)
13.^Cornell RBCholinephosphotransferase from mammalian sourcesMethods Enzymol.(1992)
15.^Henneberry AL, Wistow G, McMaster CRCloning, genomic organization, and characterization of a human cholinephosphotransferaseJ Biol Chem.(2000 Sep 22)
18.^Wurtman RJ, Regan M, Ulus I, Yu LEffect of oral CDP-choline on plasma choline and uridine levels in humansBiochem Pharmacol.(2000 Oct 1)
20.^Galletti P, De Rosa M, Cotticelli MG, Morana A, Vaccaro R, Zappia VBiochemical rationale for the use of CDPcholine in traumatic brain injury: pharmacokinetics of the orally administered drugJ Neurol Sci.(1991 Jul)
24.^Edvinsson L, Nielsen KC, Owman C, Sporrong BCholinergic mechanisms in pial vessels. Histochemistry, electron microscopy and pharmacologyZ Zellforsch Mikrosk Anat.(1972)
26.^Pinardi G, Pelissier T, Kramer V, Paeile C, Miranda HFEffects of CDP-choline on acetylcholine-induced relaxation of the perfused carotid vascular beds of the ratGen Pharmacol.(1994 Jul)
28.^Cansev M, Yilmaz MS, Ilcol YO, Hamurtekin E, Ulus IHCardiovascular effects of CDP-choline and its metabolites: involvement of peripheral autonomic nervous systemEur J Pharmacol.(2007 Dec 22)
29.^Jochem J, Savci V, Filiz N, Rybus-Kalinowska B, Fogel WA, Yalcin MInvolvement of the histaminergic system in cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine-induced reversal of critical haemorrhagic hypotension in ratsJ Physiol Pharmacol.(2010 Feb)
32.^Alvarez XA, Laredo M, Corzo D, Fernández-Novoa L, Mouzo R, Perea JE, Daniele D, Cacabelos RCiticoline improves memory performance in elderly subjectsMethods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol.(1997 Apr)
33.^Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, Jensen JE, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DACiticoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopyNMR Biomed.(2008 Nov)
34.^Killgore WD, Ross AJ, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DACiticoline affects appetite and cortico-limbic responses to images of high-calorie foodsInt J Eat Disord.(2010 Jan)
36.^Rowley TJ, McKinstry A, Greenidge E, Smith W, Flood PAntinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of choline in a mouse model of postoperative painBr J Anaesth.(2010 Aug)
37.^Yaksh TL, Dirksen R, Harty GJAntinociceptive effects of intrathecally injected cholinomimetic drugs in the rat and catEur J Pharmacol.(1985 Oct 29)
40.^Bagdas D, Sonat FA, Hamurtekin E, Sonal S, Gurun MSThe antihyperalgesic effect of cytidine-5'-diphosphate-choline in neuropathic and inflammatory pain modelsBehav Pharmacol.(2011 Sep)
41.^Alkondon M, Pereira EF, Cortes WS, Maelicke A, Albuquerque EXCholine is a selective agonist of alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the rat brain neuronsEur J Neurosci.(1997 Dec)
42.^Bartolini A, Ghelardini C, Fantetti L, Malcangio M, Malmberg-Aiello P, Giotti ARole of muscarinic receptor subtypes in central antinociceptionBr J Pharmacol.(1992 Jan)
44.^Zarrindast MR, Pazouki M, Nassiri-Rad SInvolvement of cholinergic and opioid receptor mechanisms in nicotine-induced antinociceptionPharmacol Toxicol.(1997 Nov)
45.^Zarrindast MR, Nami AB, Farzin DNicotine potentiates morphine antinociception: a possible cholinergic mechanismEur Neuropsychopharmacol.(1996 May)
47.^Adibhatla RM, Hatcher JF, Dempsey RJCiticoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemiaJ Neurochem.(2002 Jan)
48.^Plataras C, Tsakiris S, Angelogianni PEffect of CDP-choline on brain acetylcholinesterase and Na(+), K(+)-ATPase in adult ratsClin Biochem.(2000 Jul)
53.^Gutiérrez-Fernández M, Rodríguez-Frutos B, Fuentes B, Vallejo-Cremades MT, Alvarez-Grech J, Expósito-Alcaide M, Díez-Tejedor ECDP-choline treatment induces brain plasticity markers expression in experimental animal strokeNeurochem Int.(2012 Feb)
54.^Sahin S, Alkan T, Temel SG, Tureyen K, Tolunay S, Korfali EEffects of citicoline used alone and in combination with mild hypothermia on apoptosis induced by focal cerebral ischemia in ratsJ Clin Neurosci.(2010 Feb)
55.^Andersen M, Overgaard K, Meden P, Boysen G, Choi SCEffects of citicoline combined with thrombolytic therapy in a rat embolic stroke modelStroke.(1999 Jul)
56.^Alonso de Leciñana M, Gutiérrez M, Roda JM, Carceller F, Díez-Tejedor EEffect of combined therapy with thrombolysis and citicoline in a rat model of embolic strokeJ Neurol Sci.(2006 Sep 25)
57.^Schäbitz WR, Weber J, Takano K, Sandage BW, Locke KW, Fisher MThe effects of prolonged treatment with citicoline in temporary experimental focal ischemiaJ Neurol Sci.(1996 Jun)
59.^Hurtado O, Hernández-Jiménez M, Zarruk JG, Cuartero MI, Ballesteros I, Camarero G, Moraga A, Pradillo JM, Moro MA, Lizasoain ICiticoline (CDP-choline) increases Sirtuin1 expression concomitant to neuroprotection in experimental strokeJ Neurochem.(2013 Apr 18)
61.^Zafonte RD, Bagiella E, Ansel BM, Novack TA, Friedewald WT, Hesdorffer DC, Timmons SD, Jallo J, Eisenberg H, Hart T, Ricker JH, Diaz-Arrastia R, Merchant RE, Temkin NR, Melton S, Dikmen SSEffect of citicoline on functional and cognitive status among patients with traumatic brain injury: Citicoline Brain Injury Treatment Trial (COBRIT)JAMA.(2012 Nov 21)
62.^Dávalos A, Castillo J, Alvarez-Sabín J, Secades JJ, Mercadal J, López S, Cobo E, Warach S, Sherman D, Clark WM, Lozano ROral citicoline in acute ischemic stroke: an individual patient data pooling analysis of clinical trialsStroke.(2002 Dec)
64.^Dávalos A, Alvarez-Sabín J, Castillo J, Díez-Tejedor E, Ferro J, Martínez-Vila E, Serena J, Segura T, Cruz VT, Masjuan J, Cobo E, Secades JJ; International Citicoline Trial on acUte Stroke (ICTUS) trial investigatorsCiticoline in the treatment of acute ischaemic stroke: an international, randomised, multicentre, placebo-controlled study (ICTUS trial)Lancet.(2012 Jul 28)
67.^Tayebati SK, Tomassoni D, Di Stefano A, Sozio P, Cerasa LS, Amenta FEffect of choline-containing phospholipids on brain cholinergic transporters in the ratJ Neurol Sci.(2011 Mar 15)
68.^Tomassoni D, Catalani A, Cinque C, Di Tullio MA, Tayebati SK, Cadoni A, Nwankwo IE, Traini E, Amenta FEffects of cholinergic enhancing drugs on cholinergic transporters in the brain and peripheral blood lymphocytes of spontaneously hypertensive ratsCurr Alzheimer Res.(2012 Jan)
72.^Cansev M, Ilcol YO, Yilmaz MS, Hamurtekin E, Ulus IHPeripheral administration of CDP-choline, phosphocholine or choline increases plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrationsAuton Autacoid Pharmacol.(2008 Jan)
74.^Tayebati SK, Tomassoni D, Nwankwo IE, Di Stefano A, Sozio P, Cerasa LS, Amenta FModulation of monoaminergic transporters by choline-containing phospholipids in rat brainCNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets.(2013 Feb 1)
78.^Shibuya M, Kageyama N, Taniguchi T, Hidaka H, Fujiwara MEffects of CDP-choline on striatal dopamine level and behavior in ratsJpn J Pharmacol.(1981 Feb)
81.^Radad K, Gille G, Xiaojing J, Durany N, Rausch WDCDP-choline reduces dopaminergic cell loss induced by MPP(+) and glutamate in primary mesencephalic cell cultureInt J Neurosci.(2007 Jul)
82.^Barrachina M, Domínguez I, Ambrosio S, Secades J, Lozano R, Ferrer INeuroprotective effect of citicoline in 6-hydroxydopamine-lesioned rats and in 6-hydroxydopamine-treated SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cellsJ Neurol Sci.(2003 Nov 15)
83.^Pulvirenti L, Koob GFDopamine receptor agonists, partial agonists and psychostimulant addictionTrends Pharmacol Sci.(1994 Oct)
84.^Walsh SL, Preston KL, Sullivan JT, Fromme R, Bigelow GEFluoxetine alters the effects of intravenous cocaine in humansJ Clin Psychopharmacol.(1994 Dec)
87.^Licata SC, Penetar DM, Ravichandran C, Rodolico J, Palmer C, Berko J, Geaghan T, Looby A, Peters E, Ryan E, Renshaw PF, Lukas SEEffects of daily treatment with citicoline: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cocaine-dependent volunteersJ Addict Med.(2011 Mar)
88.^Lukas SE, Kouri EM, Rhee C, Madrid A, Renshaw PFEffects of short-term citicoline treatment on acute cocaine intoxication and cardiovascular effectsPsychopharmacology (Berl).(2001 Sep)
90.^Petkov VD, Mosharrof AH, Kehayov R, Petkov VV, Konstantinova E, Getova DEffect of CDP-choline on learning and memory processes in rodentsMethods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol.(1992 Oct)
93.^Gallagher M, Pelleymounter MASpatial learning deficits in old rats: a model for memory decline in the agedNeurobiol Aging.(1988 Sep-Dec)
94.^Rapp PR, Rosenberg RA, Gallagher MAn evaluation of spatial information processing in aged ratsBehav Neurosci.(1987 Feb)
97.^Ando S, Tanaka Y, Toyoda nee Ono Y, Kon K, Kawashima STurnover of synaptic membranes: age-related changes and modulation by dietary restrictionJ Neurosci Res.(2002 Nov 1)
98.^Salvador GA, López FM, Giusto NMAge-related changes in central nervous system phosphatidylserine decarboxylase activityJ Neurosci Res.(2002 Nov 1)
100.^Mosharrof AH, Petkov VD, Petkov VVEffects of meclofenoxate and citicholine on learning and memory in aged ratsActa Physiol Pharmacol Bulg.(1987)
101.^Spiers PA, Myers D, Hochanadel GS, Lieberman HR, Wurtman RJCiticoline improves verbal memory in agingArch Neurol.(1996 May)
102.^Takasaki K, Uchida K, Fujikawa R, Nogami A, Nakamura K, Kawasaki C, Yamaguchi K, Morita M, Morishita K, Kubota K, Katsurabayashi S, Mishima K, Fujiwara M, Iwasaki KNeuroprotective effects of citidine-5-diphosphocholine on impaired spatial memory in a rat model of cerebrovascular dementiaJ Pharmacol Sci.(2011)
105.^Rejdak R, Toczołowski J, Solski J, Duma D, Grieb PCiticoline treatment increases retinal dopamine content in rabbitsOphthalmic Res.(2002 May-Jun)
107.^Parisi V, Coppola G, Centofanti M, Oddone F, Angrisani AM, Ziccardi L, Ricci B, Quaranta L, Manni GEvidence of the neuroprotective role of citicoline in glaucoma patientsProg Brain Res.(2008)