Fasoracetam is a drug used to enhance cognitive function. While studies in humans are lacking, initial animal research is promising. Read on to see the possible uses, side effects, dosage, and drug interactions of fasoracetam.
Note: By writing this post, we are not recommending this drug. Some of our readers who were already taking the drug requested that we commission a post on it, and we are simply providing information that is available in the scientific literature. Please discuss your medications with your doctor.
What is Fasoracetam?
Fasoracetam (also known as NS-105, LAM-105, and NFC-1) is a nootropic or smart drug that belongs to the racetam family of drugs. It was first developed in the early 1990s by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Nippon Shinyaku with the intention of treating vascular dementia. The company spent over $200 million developing fasoracetam, however, the drug failed to make it past phase 3 clinical trials due to a lack of efficacy and was eventually abandoned.
In 2013, interest in fasoracetam was revived when a company called NeuroFix purchased the clinical data for the drug from Nippon Shinyaku. NeuroFix was later acquired by Aevi Genomic Medicine, which began clinical trials in 2016 in adolescents with ADHD, autism, or anxiety, who have mutations in the glutamate receptor gene. Fasoracetam is currently in phase 2 clinical trials [R, R, R].
Mechanisms of Action
Like all racetams, the mechanism of action of fasoracetam is not fully understood.
Research has shown that fasoracetam works by the following mechanisms:
- Fasoracetam increases the release of acetylcholine from the cerebral cortex. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain is responsible for memory and learning. Fasoracetam also increases the uptake of choline, a nutrient needed to create acetylcholine throughout the brain [R].
- Fasoracetam increases the number of receptors (in the cortex) for the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) [R].
- It also activates certain types of glutamate receptors (metabotropic glutamate receptors – mGluRs). Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter, and mGluRs have many functions throughout the brain [R, R].
Uses of Fasoracetam
1) May Prevent Memory Loss
In rats, fasoracetam prevented memory problems caused by baclofen, a GABA-B receptor activator. It also reduced amnesia by increasing acetylcholine and reducing the effects of GABA-B activation [R].
2) May Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Abnormal GABA levels are linked to certain brain disorders, including anxiety and depression. Fasoracetam reduced depressive symptoms in rats that were conditioned to feel helpless to avoid negative situations (learned helplessness) [R, R].
Commonly reported side effects of fasoracetam include headache and fatigue. Large doses of fasoracetam (> 1,000 mg/day) may cause bradycardia, a condition in which the heart rate is slowed down below 60 beats per minute (bpm) [R].
Limitations and Caveats
Since fasoracetam has not been approved by the FDA and none of the benefits have been confirmed in human trials that can be accessed in public databases, caution is warranted in applying this research for use in humans.
Phenibut is a compound that activates GABA receptors and is used to reduce anxiety and improve cognitive function. Fasoracetam may increase the response to phenibut by increasing the amount of GABA-B receptors and decreasing tolerance to phenibut [R].
In a clinical trial (double-blind randomized controlled trial) involving ADHD patients, fasoracetam was used at doses of 100, 200, and 400 mg two times a day orally [R].
Anecdotally, users report effective doses between 100 and 800 mg daily. Fasoracetam can also be taken sublingually (under the tongue) in a dose range between 5 mg and 15 mg daily.
Like all racetams, it is recommended to supplement with a source of choline to compensate for the increased utilization of acetylcholine.
This drug is mainly removed by the kidneys. Elderly people may clear the drug less efficiently and can achieve higher blood levels with lower doses compared to younger subjects [R].
“This stuff is amazing. I took only a small amount of approximately 30 mg and it worked very fast. I felt a sense of calmness and also steady energy that lasted for several hours.”
“Very noticeable anti-anxiety effects in my research experiment. Also seems to improve memory to some noticeable degree.”
“I used fasoracetam too for a while and initially liked the effects, felt a stronger focus on things I did, etc. However, over time I noticed that having focus doesn’t equal doing your work sufficiently or in an intelligent way.”
“The effects of fasoracetam build fairly significantly over the first ten days or so, then at a lesser rate for the next couple of months. Thus the effects you will notice on day ten should be more noticeable than on day one. I started at 20mg/day at ten days out that was a really good dose. Too much and it will make sleep difficult at night and for me, it increases my sensitivity to pain. As time went on 20mg was too much and I cut back to 10mg, then eventually to 5mg and I have been stable at that dose for about ten months now. The calming effects also are more noticeable after a couple of weeks.