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Piracetam

Piracetam is the parent compound of the racetam class of nootropic supplements. When supplemented, it provides a mild boost to brain function.

Our evidence-based analysis on piracetam features 110 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
Last Updated:

Summary of Piracetam

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Piracetam is the prototype for racetam supplements, which are a group of synthetic supplements intended to provide a cognitive boost.

Piracetam has a history of being used to treat cognitive impairment. According to a meta-analysis on human studies, piracetam improves general cognition when supplemented by people in a state of cognitive decline, such as the kind that comes with aging. Though piracetam may be a useful supplement for improving longevity, it offers limited benefits for healthy people.

Healthy people supplementing piracetam do experience little to no cognitive benefit. Though piracetam supplementation in healthy people is understudied, preliminary evidence suggests that piracetam is most effective for older people. Piracetam supplementation has also been found to reduce the chances of a breath-holding spell in children.

Piracetam enhances cellular membrane fluidity. This mechanism explains why piracetam is able to improve cognition, particularly in elderly people.

Piracetam is as effective as aspirin when it comes to preventing blood clotting, which makes it a useful supplemental intervention after cardiovascular trauma.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard piracetam dose for children is between 40-100mg per kilogram of bodyweight. This dose is intended for the treatment of breath-holding spells, though it has also been used for children with dyslexia. The lower end of the range (40-50mg/kg) is used most often.

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.

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Human Effect Matrix

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The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Piracetam has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

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Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Notable Very High See all 6 studies
There appears to be a notable reduction in the rate of cognitive decline (or rehabiliation of aged cognition) associated with high dose Piracetam over time and in a general manner. Piracetam is sometimes used as a comparator for cognitive decline.
grade-c Strong Very High See all 3 studies
Remarkably effective in reducing breath holding spells in infants at feasible dosages, nearly absolutely reducing the presence of breath holding spells with no apparent side-effects noted.
grade-c Minor - See study
In persons with cognitive decline, supplementation of Piracetam was able to reduce aggression and agitation symptoms.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Small increase in backwards recall with piracetam; nothing remarkable and overall very limited evidence in otherwise healthy individuals to draw from.
grade-c - - See study
Ineffective in the one study where stroke recovery rate was assessed
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence on cognition and neural functioning has been noted in otherwise healthy persons following piracetam ingestion.

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Excluded due to large dose intravenous study[1]

  • Confounded with Risperidone[2]

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Also Known As

Pyracetam, Pyrrolidone acetamide, 2-Oxo-1-pyrrolidine, Memotopril, Fezam (with cinnarizine), UCB6215

  • Piracetam is water-soluble, and does not need to be taken with food

  • Many studies note a high inter-individual variability

  • It is (anecdotally) reported to be non-stimulatory and non-sedative

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Click here to see all 110 references.