Racetams are a family of synthetic compounds, many of which belong to the nootropic class of drugs.

Some of the racetam compounds have been found to be helpful with focus and memory, while others help improve mood and work to reduce anxiety.

The synthesis of all racetam compounds can be traced back to one parent, Piracetam. Since various racetams have distinct structural differences, properties and effects of each will vary.


This compound is the mother of the racetam family of nootropic supplements. It has been well studied in humans and found to be effective in its ability to improve brain function.

Specifically, it is used to treat declining memory associated with aging. It has been used successfully to improve blood flow after a CVA (cerebrovascular accident) or stroke.

Though it is not approved for any use, supplement or prescription, in the US; it is commonly used throughout Europe and in Russia.

Alternative Names

Piracetam – Pyrrolidone acetamide, Pyracetam, 2-Oxo-1-pyrrolidine, Fezam, Memotopril, and UCB6215

Editor’s Note

Most of the literature and scientific proof available indicates that piracetam has great potential as a nootropic drug. The largest benefit is in its treatment of conditions related to aging.

However, that is because of its approved uses, and the fact that funding is primarily available for testing and studying its usefulness for those conditions.

As you will see in the subsequent section, social proof does exist for its effectiveness as a nootropic in the community, at large.

It is important to note that racetams are not immediately effective. You can’t expect to feel a drastic change after the first dose. It takes some time to build up to a therapeutic level. Therefore, consistent and iterative dosing is needed for almost all of them to become effective.

The Proof: Racetam Reviews

From the Reddit community of nootropic users, the following reviews were found:

“I have definitely noticed improvements in language skills as well as my ability and willingness to empathize with people, especially people I don’t know. I have also noticed an increase in my ability to be mindful about my own thoughts and feelings. I am less likely to follow any particular emotion down its path without first considering where that path begins and ends.” -Anonymous

“Piracetam allows me to focus on several things at once and increases my attention span.”

“(…) my memory started working crazily well. I remember I was sitting in a class and I was learning about the meninges of the brain, and I was instantly connecting the meaning of the words with visual images and linking them on-the-fly as the teacher was talking, and it made the recall of the subject matter super easy and effortless. Just one example of many.”

Benefits and Effects

  • Improves Cognitive Decline – due to aging
  • Reduces aggression
  • Improves memory
  • May aid in stroke prevention and improve outcomes after a stroke or CVA
  • Lessens social anxiety

Benefits Specific to Schizophrenia

One study described the effects of this nootropic drug in treating chronic schizophrenia. Because the drug acts on the central nervous system, patients with chronic schizophrenia showed improvement.

Specifically, the improvement was seen in “object naming” tests, in which the patients were required to indicate the number of times they had been physically stimulated.

Improvements were also elicited in basic memory tasks. Patients showed a reduced amount of incorrect verbal responses to various questions wherein they had previously failed.

While there were no changes in overall symptom rating or social rating, the results suggested that some cognitive improvement was possible in the chronic disease state of the patient.

Further studies are needed to determine the efficiency of using racetams in the treatment of these psychological illnesses.

How It Works

Piracetam enhances the fluidity of the cellular membrane. As we age, the ability to cross the blood brain barrier decreases.

This mechanism does explain why Piracetam is so effective in improving brain activity and enhancing memory, specifically, in older adults.