|More Info about PiracetamExcerpts from Smart Drugs & Nutrients, by Ward Dean, M.D. & John Morgenthaler|
Piracetam (nootropyl) is reported to be an intelligence booster and CNS (central nervous system)
stimulant with no known toxicity or addictive properties. The subjective effect described by some
people is that piracetam, "wakes up your brain." You'll find more personal accounts of the effects
of this remarkable drug in the case histories and testimonials appendix. It's effects and safety are so
impressive that piracetam prompted the creation of a new pharmaceutical category called nootropics.
The term nootropic comes from a Greek word meaning "acting on the mind." Since the invention of
piracetam by UCB Laboratories in Belgium, other pharmaceutical companies have been scrambling
to develop their own nootropics. Some of them being researched now include; vinpocetine,
aniracetam, pramiracetam, and oxiracetam. As yet, there is no nootropic compound that is FDA
approved for sale in the US, but there is plenty of motivation on the part of pharmaceutical
companies to get that approval. Financial analysts expect that the US market for these cognitive
enhancers will soon be in excess of $1-billion per year (Pelton, 1989).
Piracetam is very similar in molecular structure to the amino acid pyroglutamate (see Pyroglutamate).
Piracetam and pyroglutamate have the same "base" chemical structure, the 2-oxo-pyrrolidine, but
they differ by the side chain. Pyroglutamate is 2-oxo-pyrrolidine carboxylic acid, and piracetam is
Piracetam enhances cognition under conditions of hypoxia (too little oxygen), and also enhances
memory and some kinds of learning in normal humans. Outside of the US, piracetam is used to treat
alcoholism, stroke, vertigo, senile dementia, sickle cell anemia, dyslexia, and numerous other health
problems (Pelton, 1989).
One of the most intriguing effects of piracetam is that it promotes the flow of information between the
right and left hemispheres of the brain (Buresova, 1976). We know that the communication between
the two sides of the brain is associated with flashes of creativity. This may also be he basis for
piracetam's usefulness in the treatment of dyslexia (Dilanni, 1985).
The effect of piracetam can be increased if taken with DMAE, centrophenoxine, choline,
or Hydergine. When choline and piracetam are taken together there is a synergistic effect that causes
a greater improvement in memory than the sum of each when taken alone (Bartus, 1981).
We know of one person who claims she feels slightly agitated and depressed if she takes piracetam
for more than a week without a choline supplement. This feeling is alleviated for her with a single
dose of choline. It may be that the piracetam causes acetylcholine to be used up more quickly and
that the choline helps to replace this important neurotransmitter. One fascinating study suggests that
piracetam might increase the number of cholinergic receptors in the brain. Older mice were given
piracetam for two weeks and then the density of muscarinic cholinergic receptors in their frontal
cortexes was measured. The researchers found that these older mice had 30-40% higher density of
these receptors than before (Pilch, 1988). Piracetam, unlike many other drugs, appears to have a
regenerative effect on the nervous system.
One theory of Alzheimer's disease is that the decline of intellectual functions is partly caused by a
decreased activity of the cholinergic system in the brain caused by cell death and cell degeneration.
The researchers in the above study speculated that their findings could explain how piracetam works
and could also explain the finding of Bartus, et. al. regarding a profound effect of combining choline
with piracetam on memory enhancement of old rats.
As mentioned previously the late drug researcher Arthur Cherkin related to us that he believed the
combination of Hydergine and piracetam potentiate each other by five times. This highlights the
importance of adjusting the dosage when multiple substances are taken because, some of these
substances will cause paradoxical effects when excessive amounts are taken.
Although piracetam is a derivative of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid, a neurotransmitter), there
is no evidence that piracetam works through the GABAergic system. Some research even suggests
GABA may even inhibit memory and learning (Zhang, 1989).
Precautions: Piracetam may increase the effects of certain drugs, such as amphetamines,
psychotropics, and Hydergine, as stated. Adverse effects are rare but include insomnia, psychomotor
agitation, nausea, gastrointestinal distress, and headaches. Piracetam has virtually no known toxicity
Dosage: Piracetam is supplied in 400 mg or 800 mg capsules or tablets. The usual dose is 2400 to
4800 mg per day in three divided doses. Some literature recommends a high "attack" dose be taken
for the first two days. We have noticed that often when people first take piracetam they do not
notice any effect at all until they take a high dose (approximately 4000 to 8000 mg). Thereafter,
they may notice that a lower dosage is sufficient. Piracetam takes effect within 30 to 60 minutes.
APPENDIX D: Testimonials & Case Histories
Testimonials and case histories are always suspect in scientific circles. This is because the human
mind is so powerful at producing the placebo effect. Humans repeatedly experience powerful drug
effects from taking inactive substances when they believe that the substances are drugs. That is why
we rely on references to scientific research for the information we present.
"My secretary responded so well to piracetam (at doses of only 800 mg) that I decided to give her
a small raise so she could afford it. She takes piracetam instead of heading for the coffee machine.
Every day she takes it she is decidedly more alert, and intelligent acting and she smiles more.
"Piracetam keeps me alert when I am driving. It also helps me to formulate new and different ideas
when I am taking essay tests in school." - DB
"I liked piracetam so much that I decided to try it with vincamine and xanthinol nicotinate. I took
standard doses of all three - 2400 mg of piracetam, 20 mg of vincamine, and 300 mg of xanthinol
nicotinate. I actually felt stupid! I had the "right on the tip of my tongue" response for hours.
Recently a friend suggested that I combine Hydergine with piracetam, explaining that the two
synergize each other, and that I should try a small dose of each. I had tried Hydergine years ago
and liked it a lot, but found it prohibitively expensive. I decided to experiment with these two in
combination with ginkgo biloba. I started with what I thought were very small quantities,
1/4 mg of Hydergine, 200 mg of piracetam, and 50 mg of ginkgo, but found the combination to
be extraordinary. I've tried many different cognitive enhancers, but this low-cost, low-dose
combination is my favorite." -BP
"I started taking piracetam with choline about a year ago and have found this combination to be
one of the best things that ever happened to me. I no longer get extreme mood swings, I am much
happier in general, and my concentration and speaking ability is better. I also found that my
relationships with family and friends have improved, probably due to my increased self confidence."
"I took two grams of piracetam and, after 30 minutes, I began to find my boyfriend much more
sexually attractive. I assumed this was as fluke since I had never heard of this effect from piracetam.
Since this experience I have taken piracetam every day for two months and every time, without fail,
it has the same effect. Piracetam has vastly improved my sex life." -DB
"Intelligence is the ultimate aphrodisiac." --- Tim Leary
An old medication has stroke survivors talking -- literally
, that is.
A new study published in the September issue of Stroke: Journal of the
American Heart Association finds the drug piracetam, which has been around
for three decades, helps stroke victims regain speech and language skills.
Researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurological Research in
Cologne, Germany randomly assigned 24 stroke patients to one hour of speech
therapy a day, or speech therapy plus 4,800 milligrams of piracetam daily.
All of the patients had mild to moderate aphasia, a language-processing
disorder that occurs when a certain area in the brain that governs language
skills is cut off from oxygen due to a stroke.
After eight weeks of treatment, both groups showed improvement. But
the group taking piracetam showed greater improvements in spontaneous
speech, conversation, understanding the proper ordering of words in a
sentence, written language and comprehension. Researchers used brain scans
to find that those taking piracetam showed more activity in the areas of the
brain that govern language skills.
"There has been controversy about whether medications can improve the
effectiveness of speech therapy in helping stroke survivors regain functions
lost due to brain damage," says lead researcher Josef Kessler. The findings,
he adds, "link functional improvements on language tests with physical
changes in brain regions that govern language."
--By Katrina Woznick