Piracetam Review: Complete Guide to Side Effects and Dosage


Piracetam: the “grand-daddy” of all nootropics.

For several generations, it has been used to enrich focus and concentration students and smart drug users.

Piracetam is easy to obtain, well-researched, and relatively low coast compared to other nootropics (and other racetams). As such, to this day it remains a top choice nootropic among college students and others to improve memory and boost focus.

Piracetam is most valuable in a clinical setting to improve memory in elderly individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease or other age-related cognitive problems.

What is Piracetam?

A member of the Racetam family of nootropics, Piracetam was developed in 1964 by a Romanian chemist who worked for a Belgian company called UCB Pharma.

Originally developed as a medication to boost learning and cognitive ability without stimulant or sedative side effects, Piracetam is prized today by the medical community to treat patients and by the nootropic users.

Studies conducted on Piracetam and elderly patients with Alzheimer’s or memory problems indicate it does show promise for delaying age-related memory problems and offers longevity-enhancing properties.

According to Selfhacked.com, it also provides clinical help for rebuilding language skill in stroke patients, increasing verbal learning ability in patients with dyslexia and other benefits for people with severe medical conditions.

Piracetam’s benefits are like other smart drugs, including Noopept, Unifiram, Modafinil as well as more well-known drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin. Healthy people use smart drugs to boost learning ability, memory and focus for a variety of reasons.

For healthy people, Piracetam may improve concentration and cognition for studying or other tasks, but it hasn’t been shown to provide any conclusive, long-term effects after usage ceases.

Piracetam is legal but unregulated in the United States. It’s sold online by vitamin and nootropic sellers. Amazon and eBay in the U.S. recently banned the sale of Piracetam and other Racetams. It may still be available from Amazon Canada.

The first and best-known Racetam, Piracetam is safe and effective for users who want a learning and memory boost, and it has no significant side effects. You’d have to try very hard to have a bad experience with Piracetam.

Other Names for Piracetam

Pyrrolidone acetamide, 2-Oxo-1-pyrrolidine, Breinox, Oikamid, Dinagen, Lucetam, UCB6215,

Editor’s Note

Piracetam is considered the granddaddy of all Racetams, and the easiest to find and use. You don’t need to search long to find nootropics users debating the merits of Piracetam.

Reviewers offer opinions that range from “it’s the only nootropic that does anything for me” to “it does nothing for me.” The long list of differing experiences on Reddit contains some posts almost as extensive as a term paper.

Everyone who’s used Piracetam has more than a few things to say about it, and most of them are somewhat positive.

The positive aspects of Piracetam, according to users, include:

  • Better verbal fluency
  • Fewer mental blocks
  • Clarity
  • Focus
  • Boosts Memory
  • Enhances Mood
  • Easily Tolerated

The negative aspects include:

  • Piracetam tends to “dim” in potency after you’ve used it 12-18 months
  • May cause headaches after continued use
  • Some users experience mild anxiety and nervousness

I find Piracetam to be helpful for studying and finishing creative projects because it helps me focus. It helps motivate me to get stuff done, but I don’t find that it makes me any more talkative or social than usual, though some people experience these effects.

Some people visualize things better on Piracetam. A few people claim it caused them to hallucinate, but they are most likely in the minority.

To get all the benefits of Piracetam, you’ll need to use it consistently for awhile. Like other Racetams, it’s not a one-time dose nootropic. The drug has a half-life of four to six hours, so you’ll need to split up doses for it to stay effective.

Steve breaks it down for us in this video review:


After checking the internet for user reviews, I found this post from Lloyd at Clear Mind Meditation Blog. Since he’s not part of the nootropic community, he has a fresh take on Piracetam. “The benefits of piracetam have been somewhat mixed.

While my thinking has become more subtle and clear, it has also become quite intense.”, he writes. In this Reddit discussion on Piracetam, user Sherlockian_Holmes writes,

“Basically, Piracetam when it worked for me, was quite incredible…. and it is by far one of the greatest feelings.”

Benefits and Effects

Memory Enhancement

Regular doses of Piracetam have been found to improve memory in individuals with dementia and cognitive impairment. Daily doses if Piracetam above 1200 mg can improve recall and working memory.

The effects of Piracetam are most profound in aging individuals and people who’ve suffered a stroke or brain injury. Healthy people do see an increase in backward recall, but the overall effect is somewhat limited.


Piracetam crosses the blood-brain barrier to reach the area of the brain where cognition and focus are centered. It interacts with acetylcholine and glutamate receptors, strengthening memory and expanding your ability to focus.

Many users find writing, drawing and engaging in conversations to be much easier. These activities become much more fluid and natural; you won’t need to think about what you’re doing. This may be due to the way Piracetam increases blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain.

Sensory Perception

Many Piracetam users experience increased sensations, such as lights becoming clearer or sounds being louder and crisper. These sensations vary from person to person and may involve touch, sight, sound, taste or smell. Stacking Piracetam with choline may heighten sensory perception.


Because of its ability to help users think clearly and quickly, Piracetam has a reputation as one of the best nootropics for studying.

It boosts reasoning and critical thinking skills and may be especially helpful for math or engineering students or people who work in those fields. Piracetam induces the modulation of AMPA receptors.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists and researchers have found Piracetam to be one of the best medications for treating and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.

One study showed that Piracetam could improve mitochondrial function in aging brains and elevate neuronal plasticity. It also improves ATP production and glucose uptake, which are critical to keeping older adults’ cognition sharp.

How It Works

The cognitive enhancement power of Piracetam stems from the improvement of the brain’s Acetylcholine, (ACH) transmitters. It increases activity in these transmitters.

Acetylcholine, partially responsible for memory development and processing, also stimulates muscle contractions and motor control.

It’s believed that Piracetam enhances cell membrane permeability. It makes the delivery of oxygen molecules to cells more efficient. This nootropic gets rid of cell waste faster to ensure cell membrane stay healthy.

By keeping waste out of cells, it reduces stroke risk and other conditions resulting from lack of oxygen.

It also helps increase circulation to neural tissues. By boosting circulation to these tissues and keeping them healthy, it protects against cognitive decline caused by the normal aging process.

Piracetam inhibits the reuptake of brain glucose levels. Once this happens, glucose metabolizes, which may increase alertness and mental function.

It may also improve neurotransmission in the brain by affecting calcium levels. Piracetam hs a structure similar to the neurotransmitter GABA, although it doesn’t interact with these receptors

This Racetam also increases the amount of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in the brain and improves mitochondria function.

You’ll start to feel the effects of Piracetam about an hour after taking a dose. The benefits usually last from four to six hours, though some people may experience enhanced cognition and mood for up to eight hours.


The standard dosage for adults to improve cognitive function is 1600 mg three times daily for a total of 4800 mg or 4.8 grams.

Spread the dosage out during the day instead of taking many pills at one time. Users reap the most benefits by taking one or two pills every four to six hours.

Water-soluble Piracetam can be taken without food. Taking it on an empty stomach appears to be more efficient for most people, but there’s no harm in taking it with food.

Side Effects

Piracetam is well-tolerated by most users, with little risk of toxicity or overdose. Even high doses of Piracetam given to rats in studies showed no harmful effects to the rodents. A regular daily dose of Piracetam shouldn’t cause any problems for most people.

Piracetam has few long-term side effects. Regular users of this nootropic may experience headaches that become more pronounced the longer they use the drug. Reduce headaches from Piracetam by stacking it with choline or another neuroprotective source.

Choline and Piracetam should be taken together when possible to maintain a healthy level of acetylcholine in the body.

Piracetam may prevent users from realizing how much alcohol they’ve imbibed. Avoid drinking while taking Piracetam.

Many online stores sell Piracetam, but potential buyers should do research and only purchase this nootropic from trusted, verified sellers with high ratings. Low-quality or tainted piracetam from shady sellers may be harmful to your health even in small doses.


Piracetam, one of the most well-known racetams, has been used with many other supplements or nootropics.

Over the past few decades, Piracetam has been supplemented with choline sources, other racetams, and herbal supplements. Here are a few stacks known to optimize the effects of Piracetam.

Choline and Piracetam Stack

Choline, a precursor to acetylcholine, helps increase neural activity and allows signals in the brain to be effectively transmitted. Getting enough choline from the diet proves difficult for most people.

Piracetam increases the brain’s need for acetylcholine. Use choline to boost piracetam’s potency and prevent headaches from insufficient acetylcholine.

When stacking choline with piracetam, take 500 mg of choline along with 4800 mg of Piracetam. If you take Piracetam by itself and find that you get headaches, supplementing with Choline should stop the headaches and complement the Piracetam’s cognitive effects.

Noopept, Piracetam, and Choline Stack

Noopept and Piracetam offer similar cognitive benefits. Noopept works on the neurotransmitter glutamate to increase concentration and memory retention. Piracetam provides more power to the neurotransmitter GABA.

Noopet is 1000 to 5000 times more potent than Piracetam, so drastically reduce the Noopept dose when stacking with other drugs.

A good dose, suggested by a Reddit user, clocks in at 10 mg Noopept and 1.6 grams Piracetam three times a day. Add Choline to prevent headaches at a ratio of eight to one choline to Piracetam (i.e., 600mg choline for 4.8 grams of Piracetam).

Piracetam Alternatives

1. Fish Oil

A stack that includes Fish Oil and Piracetam provides better concentration and mental acuity for many people.

Some individuals may prefer the all-natural approach and shy away from chemically-produced cognitive enhancers. Fish oil offers an all-natural brain boost from Omega 3 fatty acids.

Studies have shown that fish oil (without Piracetam or any other stackable) can improve cognition in people of all ages, with a special ability to prevent mental decline in older adults.

While the results from fish oil aren’t as dramatic and immediate as a dose of Piracetam, ongoing use of fish oil (and foods containing Omega 3’s) can keep cognitive function sharp.

2. Fish Oil vs. Piracetam

  • Both products have few side effects
  • You can buy fish oil at your local supermarket, grocery store or online.
  • Piracetam is more potent than fish oil

3. Phenylpiracetam

Reddit users credit Phenylpiracetam with an increase in social and emotional function as well as mental alertness. It has more of a stimulant effect than Piracetam and may cause jitteriness in some individuals.

Anyone desiring better focus and cognitive enhancement (with a social boost) may be interested in this alternative. For best results, take a dosage of between 100-200mg per day two to three times daily.

Clinically speaking, Phenylpiracetam may have the same protection against age-related cognitive decline as Piracetam. On the downside, it’s more expensive than Piracetam.

4. Phenylpiracetam vs. Piracetam

  • Phenylpiracetam is more potent than Piracetam
  • Phenylpiracetam may cause nervousness or anxiety on some users
  • Piracetam is cheaper than Phenylpiracetam.

5. Oxiracetam

Thought by many to be the next step up from Piracetam, Oxiracetam provides even more of a cognitive boost than its predecessor. Studies conducted in patients with vascular dementia showed that Oxiracetam improved cognition better than Piracetam.

If it can help dementia patients, it can help healthy people focus and study with more clarity. Water soluble Oxiracetam offers cognitive enhancement for the user without any of the social effects of Phenylpiracetam or the boost to visual and sensory perception offered by Piracetam.

6. Oxiracetam vs. Piracetam

  • Oxiracetam offers better help for cognition.
  • Piracetam is easier to buy than Oxiracetam
  • Oxiracetam doesn’t provide social or sensory effects.

Order Oxiracetam here.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re having problems concentrating on work or studies, and need a safe nootropic to give you an edge, Piracetam may be perfect for you. It’s relatively easy to buy online and isn’t as expensive as more powerful but lesser known Smart Drugs.

It offers the following advantages for people wanting better cognition and focus:

  • Starts working about an hour after you take it
  • Offers mood and sensory perception enhancement
  • No serious side effects

It may not be everyone’s favorite racetam, but Piracetam still does the trick. It’s a reliable, multi-purpose nootropic that everyone should try at least once.