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Piracetam: Side-Effects, Risks & User Reviews

Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Matt Carland
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology), Matt Carland, PhD (Neuroscience) | Written by Puya Yazdi, MD | Last updated:

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Piracetam is one of the most popular “nootropic” (“cognition-enhancing”) drugs. Due to its popularity, it is often presented as a “risk-free” drug, without any major side-effects or other risks. However, legitimate scientific data about its overall safety and potential dangers is lacking, and many different studies have reported conflicting results regarding its efficacy and safety in healthy human users. In this post, we’ll be counter-balancing some of the “hype” about piracetam by reviewing what some of the latest science has to say about its potential negative side-effects and other possible risks. Read on to learn more!

What is Piracetam?

Piracetam is the “original” racetam, and is currently one of the most popular “nootropics,” or “smart drugs.“

Although it is allegedly less potent than other racetams, many people still report taking it in order to “enhance” their cognitive functioning.

The racetam group of synthetic compounds are characterized by their chemical structures, which all contain a pyrrolidone lactam ring. Piracetam and other racetams like oxiracetam and aniracetam are considered cognitive enhancers or nootropics, while others like levetiracetam are used as anticonvulsant drugs to treat epilepsy.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little proper clinical research with piracetam — especially in young, healthy volunteers. However, there is some research on elderly populations with dementia, schizophrenics, and those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders caused by head trauma, stroke, and alcoholism.

Piracetam supplements have not been officially approved by the FDA for any specific medical application or other use. Supplements generally lack solid clinical research. Legal regulations can set certain manufacturing standards for producing them, but nevertheless this is no guarantee that they are either effective or safe to use. Always speak with your doctor before beginning any new supplements or taking any new drugs.

You can learn more about the potential uses, mechanisms, and possible side-effects of other specific racetam drugs from the following comprehensive posts:

Mechanisms of Action

Due to a lack of extensive research on piracetam, the potential mechanisms behind its possible effects remain largely unknown.

However, some early research has identified a few possible candidate mechanisms and effects, such as [1]:

  • Activating AMPA receptors
  • Increasing NMDA receptors
  • Increasing acetylcholine (ACh) receptor numbers
  • Enhancing energy metabolism – increased oxygen utilization, mitochondrial permeability, and cytochrome B5 synthesis.
  • GABA-like characteristics
  • Antioxidant properties

Piracetam Side-Effects & Risks

Like any drug, piracetam has the potential to cause adverse side-effects, and it is therefore important to be aware of these.

Unfortunately, however, the safety profile of piracetam is relatively unknown, due to the lack of well-designed large-scale clinical studies.

This is why it is always crucially important to speak to your doctor before starting any new supplements or medications.

The list of side-effects below is not a complete or definitive list, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side-effects, based on any pre-existing health conditions and possible drug or supplement interactions.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side-effects. In the US, you may report side-effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada, you may report side-effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Side-Effects Reported By Preliminary Research Studies

Overall, there is relatively little official or reliable scientific or clinical data about piracetam’s potential for adverse side-effects when taken by healthy human users.

However, a few preliminary studies do exist that can shed some light on at least some of the potential side-effects of piracetam.

According to one relatively large-scale, multi-center clinical study of 927 patients who recently experienced a stroke, a 12-gram dose of piracetam (a very high dose) for 12 weeks was not reported to result in a high rate of adverse side-effects. However, this study was not specifically designed to monitor the incidence of side-effects, and so the conclusions that can be made from this study are rather limited [2].

Additionally, while piracetam appeared to be relatively well-tolerated by these patients, neither was it associated with any statistically-significant therapeutic benefits in this study [2].

Another, smaller-scale, study of 11 epilepsy patients reported some relatively minor side-effects, such as increased fatigue, but ultimately concluded that piracetam was generally well-tolerated by most patients over the course of the 18 months of treatment [3].

In another placebo-controlled study of 60 concussion patients, a daily 4800mg dose of piracetam for 8 weeks was reported to partially reduce some of the symptoms commonly associated with brain injuries, such as vertigo, headaches, fatigue, and decreased alertness. However, 64% of the piracetam-treated patients reported experiencing negative side-effects (compared to just 32% of the placebo group [4].

Some of the side-effects commonly reported by the patients in this study included [4]:

Another placebo-controlled study in 60 elderly patients with diffuse brain damage and cognitive impairments reported that patients treated with piracetam showed improved scores on some tests of cognitive functioning. However, these therapeutic benefits wore off after 12 weeks, suggesting that these cognitive effects were not long-lasting or permanent. Additionally, many of the treated patients reported a variety of adverse side-effects, including [5]:

  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • Overstimulation
  • Disrupted sexual activity / sexual drive

Finally, one interesting study on the safety of piracetam reviewed a variety of medical cases based on user experiences posted on an online nootropics forum, and reported that the following negative side-effects were relatively common among piracetam users [6]:

  • Restlessness (psychomotor agitation)
  • Disrupted mood (dysphoria)
  • Tiredness / fatigue
  • Dizziness / vertigo
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea

In one of the medical cases reported on in this study, a 17-year-old adolescent with OCD who was previously stabilized with SSRI treatment reported having to visit a hospital emergency room after taking piracetam supplements. This user reported severe side-effects such as extreme restlessness and paranoia. Although these symptoms eventually resolved after piracetam was discontinued, the patient and their parents both expressed surprise at these effects of piracetam, which the patient originally began taking due to the fact that it was marketed online as a “safe,” “natural remedy.”

Side-Effects Reported By Users (Unofficial)

In addition to some of the side-effects that have been reported in the relatively few- and small-scale human studies done on piracetam so far, there are also many personal reports from piracetam users online that allude to various potential side-effects.

We have combed through some of these “user reports” to compile a list of some of the more commonly-experienced adverse side-effects. Nonetheless, keep in mind that this is a highly unofficial list, based solely on subjective reports from anonymous piracetam users online.

None of the information below should be considered scientifically or medically verified, and this information should never be used to replace conventional medical attention or treatment.

With those important caveats in mind, some of the adverse side-effects commonly reported by piracetam users online include:

  • Brain fog
  • Sleepiness / drowsiness / fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sleep issues
  • Depression
  • Muscle twitching
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Various cognitive problems (such as issues with reading, spelling, and verbal retrieval)

Anecdotally, piracetam users sometimes report using additional supplements to attempt to reduce or counteract some of these commonly-reported side-effects. Some of the more typical supplements that these users report using include:

  • Alpha-GPC, to “replenish choline stores”
  • NAC, to prevent oxidative stress [7, 8] and reduce glutamate/NMDA receptor over-stimulation
  • Magnesium, to block NMDA receptors
  • Theanine, to block AMPA receptors [9]

However, the effectiveness of these additional supplements in controlling or reducing the potential side-effects of piracetam — as well as the overall safety of these supplement combinations — remains unknown. They have not been tested by any well-controlled scientific studies, and so no solid conclusions can be made about these approaches.

Contraindications

Similar to the situation with its potential side-effects, exactly how piracetam may interact with other pre-existing health conditions is also largely unknown.

However, a few preliminary studies have identified at least a few possible warning signs to look out for. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that these are only a few of the potential risk factors involved in using piracetam, and that there may be many more that haven’t been identified or studied yet. This is why it is always crucial to discuss any new medications or supplements with your doctor first.

While supplementing with piracetam could theoretically cause negative side-effects in anyone, according to at least one review, individuals with a prior history of psychiatric disorders or substance abuse disorders may be at elevated risk from taking piracetam [6].

Additionally, some research suggests that piracetam may interfere with the activity of platelets, the component of the blood responsible for blood clotting. Based on this, some researchers have warned that piracetam may effectively “thin” the blood. By extension, this implies that piracetam could potentially interact with common blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, as well as increase the risk of bleeding and other cardiovascular issues. For similar reasons, caution would also be advised for anyone whose platelet counts are already low, or anyone who is preparing for an upcoming surgery [10].

Possible Mechanisms of Side-Effects

The exact mechanism of side effects of piracetam is unknown. The mechanisms and pathways mentioned below are based on experimental animal and cellular findings, and have not been verified by appropriate clinical trials in human subjects. Therefore, the mechanisms described below should be considered as “lacking evidence” until much more additional research is performed.

LACKING EVIDENCE (Animal and Cell Studies Only):

1) Choline / Acetylcholine

Among nootropics users who personally experiment with piracetam (and/or other related drugs in the racetam family), it is relatively common to “stack” racetams with choline donors, such as alpha-GPC and citicoline. This is because racetams are widely believed to “deplete” choline stores in the brain, which could contribute to some of the reported side-effects of these drugs.

If true, then supplementing these drugs with additional sources choline could theoretically prevent such side-effects. However, no scientific evidence directly supports this practice [11].

In fact, at least one animal study in rats has reported that piracetam injections may actually increase the absorption and transportation (uptake) of choline in the brain — especially in the hippocampus [12]. Although more research would be needed to confirm this effect in human users, this preliminary finding nonetheless casts some additional doubt on the widespread belief that racetam drugs actively deplete the brain’s choline supply.

On the other hand, other animal studies have reported that piracetam may decrease the brain’s levels of acetylcholine — a major neurotransmitter that the brain directly produces (synthesizes) from choline [13]. Therefore, the relationship between piracetam, choline, and other related compounds may be significantly more complex than otherwise generally believed.

Furthermore, the few animal studies that have tried to investigate the potential interactions between piracetam and choline have reported mixed or conflicting results. For example, some studies in rats have reported that combining piracetam with choline may be required for some of piracetam’s “cognitive” effects, whereas other similar studies have reported no significant behavioral or cognitive differences when piracetam was given either alone or in combination with choline [14, 15].

All in all, the effects of piracetam on choline and acetylcholine, and exactly how the these different compounds interact with each other, remains unclear — and much more research will be needed to understand the potential relationships between them [11].

2) NMDA receptors

According to some early research, piracetam has been reported to activate AMPA receptors, as well as potentially increase the number of NMDA receptors. NMDA receptors have also been implicated in learning and synaptic plasticity, and some researchers have suggested that these mechanisms may therefore be responsible for some of the supposed “cognitive effects” of piracetam [16].

However, increased activation or stimulation of NMDA receptors has also been associated with a variety of adverse health conditions or symptoms, including anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, OCD, “brain fog,” and a host of other psychiatric disorders [17, 18].

Nonetheless, the functions of NMDA receptors are extremely complex, and they could theoretically contribute to health problems when they are either over- or under-activated. Furthermore, the effects of NMDA receptor stimulation may depend on the specific subtype of receptor (such as GluN2-A vs. GluN2-B NMDA receptors), as well as exactly where they are located on a given neuron [19].

Therefore, it’s not possible to come to any strong conclusions based on the preliminary evidence available so far, and more research will still be needed to clarify the potential role of NMDA receptors in the adverse side-effects of piracetam.

3) AMPA receptors

AMPA receptors are another type of receptor that have been implicated in synaptic plasticity and other important processes throughout the brain [16].

Although the potential influence of piracetam on these receptors has not been directly investigated, the molecular structure of piracetam (and other racetams) shares certain similarities with the structure of farampator, an experimental “ampakine” drug that has been reported to stimulate AMPA receptors [20, 21].

Interestingly, farampator has also been linked to a number of adverse side-effects — including headaches, fatigue, and nausea — which are also similar to those reported for piracetam [20, 21].

Based on these similarities, some researchers have proposed that the negative side-effects of piracetam and other racetams may be due to their molecular effects on AMPA receptors. Nonetheless, much more research will still be needed before any strong or definitive conclusions can be made.

4) Oxidative Stress

According to one preliminary animal study, rodents treated with a “human-equivalent dose” of piracetam were reported to show signs of significantly elevated oxidative stress throughout their brains. These signs of oxidative damage were especially prominent in certain specific brain regions, such as the hypothalamus [22].

Based on this finding, some researchers have suggested that significantly elevated oxidative stress could potentially be responsible for some of piracetam’s reported side-effects, although much more research would be needed to confirm this mechanism in humans.

5) Aldosterone

Finally, some researchers have proposed that some of piracetam’s purported “memory-enhancing” effects may be mediated by the stimulation of mineralocorticoid receptors. Normally, these receptors respond primarily to the hormone aldosterone, and could theoretically contribute to some of piracetam’s reported side-effects, such as sweating, irritability, and sleep disturbances. However, this link in mostly hypothetical, and remains unconfirmed [23].

6) Altered Synaptic Plasticity

One of the more widespread claims about the so-called “cognitive effects” of piracetam and other drugs in the racetam family is that they may work by stimulating synaptic plasticity throughout the brain.

While this might sound good in theory, the reality is that it’s not necessarily the case that “more plasticity” is always “better.”

For example, some researchers have warned that excessive and unregulated neural plasticity in the areas of the brain that influence emotions and moods could potentially lead to symptoms such as impaired emotional regulation and increased impulsivity [16].

Another way that excessive plasticity could be harmful is by leading to reduced synaptic pruning, or a loss of the brain’s ability to “get rid of” the neural connections that it no longer needs. This process can be equally as important as the formation of new neural connections, and impairments in synaptic pruning have been implicated in a variety of major psychiatric and neurological conditions, such as autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs). This un-regulated neural connectivity is believed to lead to excessive and uncontrolled (non-selective) overall brain activity, which can in turn interfere with a diverse range of cognitive, emotional, and social functions [16].

Similarly, racetam drugs have been noted to share several molecular and functional similarities with ampakines, or drugs that stimulate AMPA receptors. Ampakines are often reported to stimulate long-term potentiation (LTP), a specific type of synaptic plasticity — but excessive LTP has also been associated with significant impairments in spatial memory and motor function [16].

Synaptic plasticity is important throughout the entire lifespan, but is especially sensitive during early development (i.e. before full adulthood), when the brain is still actively developing. For this reason, some researchers have cautioned young adults against taking ampakines (or drugs with ampakine-like effects, such as racetams) due to concerns that they might negatively interfere with the normal development of the adolescent brain [16].

Relatedly, an additional concern stems from the fact that very little is known about drugs with ampakine properties (potentially including piracetam and other racetams), and almost no ampakine drugs have managed to pass clinical trials in humans due to safety concerns. As of 2014, the only ampakine drug to reach clinical testing in humans is Cortex Pharmaceuticals’ “CX-717,” which was evaluated in Phase-I clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. However, these early clinical trials showed evidence of tissue damage in treated animal and human subjects, and the FDA subsequently denied the company’s applications for further testing and the approval process was terminated. No other ampakines are currently in human trials, so little can be proven about their efficacy or safety in healthy individuals [16].

The Critics Respond

Based on some of the feedback we’ve received on this post, some critics have argued that the potential safety concerns and risks we’ve discussed here should not be taken seriously, because one can find negative reports about pretty much any drug or substance out there.

While this is technically true, it is also the case that many proponents and users of piracetam commonly claim that piracetam is “safe,” or even totally “risk-free” — which is definitely not the case!

Therefore, we wrote this post to counter-balance some of the hype out there about piracetam, as it is often promoted in a way that plays up its supposed “benefits,” while down-playing (or even completely ignoring) its potential risks.

Another common criticism we’ve encountered is that many of the clinical case studies reporting adverse side-effects and other dangers can be ignored, because other studies have reported piracetam to be relatively well-tolerated.

Once again, while there is a grain of truth to this, the reality is that many of the studies that have made conclusions about piracetam’s “safety” only used very small groups of participants, and also did not perform long-term follow-up tests to detect potential side-effects. Therefore, the unfortunate reality is that most of those studies are actually quite limited in their ability to come to any firm conclusions about the safety and risks of piracetam — even if they appear to state otherwise.

At the end of the day, the scientific and medical community agrees that we can’t know if something is safe solely based on data from animal studies and a few small-scale human trials. Much larger-scale, longer-term studies are needed to determine just how safe piracetam might be — and until those studies are done, it’s impossible to make any definitive conclusions about its safety one way or the other.

People in the nootropic world tend to assume that piracetam is just as safe as vitamin C, if not safer. The goal of this post is to show that this may not be the case — or, at least, that there is still good scientific reason to be skeptical about anyone claiming to know “for sure” that it is safe and risk-free. Being well-informed about piracetam means being aware both of its potential benefits and its potential risks.

User Reviews

The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of the users who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on SelfHacked. We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

1) “Piracetam makes me depressed or more irritated” [24].

2) “I am not convinced that the headache from Piracetam is caused by Low choline levels because from the first time I took piracetam I got a headache from taking a few extra caps and I really doubt my choline levels were that low right when I first start” [25].

3 & 4) “2 separate users took piracetam for a few months and experienced cognitive dysfunction” [26, 27].

5) “I took piracetam for 2 weeks and I now have muscle convulsions randomly, at different places of my body, at random times. Sometimes twice in a minute, other times twice in an hour. It only lasts for a few seconds. I only took it for 2 weeks and the side-effects have been present for the last 3-4 months. I don’t think it’s going away… eh” [28].

6) “I’ve stopped using piracetam, and I still experience some brain fog as if someone is putting pressure on my head… Will this go away?” [29].

7) “I was on piracetam for 1 month and stopped it suddenly. Now I feel like I can’t do anything (driving, writing, thinking). It f****d up my brain” [28].

8) “I have used piracetam 5 g/day for two days now and what I feel is the following: slight nausea, brain fog, lower scores in luminosity (brain) games, slight pressure in the frontal lobe, maybe” [29].

9) “I started by taking an 800mg dose 3 times a day for the first 3 days and nothing happened. I pushed it up to 1,600mg 3 times a day and I got the worst headache of my life accompanied by brain fog and nausea.” [30].

10) “When you first start Piracetam you will get brain fog and have trouble reading, I noticed this as well as I recently started taking it again…” [30].

11) “How can you reduce piracetam brain fog symptoms?” [31].

12) “From my 10+ years of personal experience, I have found that many times Piracetam made me sleepy, and/or I got severe brain fog. I have tried it at dosages from 800mg up to 4,800mg (attack” dosage) per day, both with and without choline (either Alpha-GPC, Citicoline, or Phosphatidylcholine in dosages from 300mg – 1,000mg per day). I have also taken it with Hydergine (up to 4.5mg per day), and I have also tried Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam with similar results. I have also tried different brands of Piracetam from Nootropil to Primaforce. I also don’t use any recreational drugs, other than a glass of beer or wine a few nights a week, I get 6-8 hours of sleep a night, and I have no psychological conditions (i.e. bipolar, depression, etc). I have a job where I need to maintain alertness and clear thinking 8 – 10 hours a day, so I can’t afford self-induced brain fog. I have always taken nootropics on faith, thinking that they were somehow helping me, even if I didn’t notice any effects. I’m now starting to think that in order for a nootropic to be called effective, you should be able to notice a positive result within a reasonably short period of time (none of this “you need to try it for 6 months before you notice a result”). I am also starting to believe that in order to be called an effective, a nootropic like Piracetam should never make you feel worse. I was sitting there one day in a Piracetam induced fog, thinking to myself that I paid money for this result” [32].

13) “Piracetam is neurotoxic to me, feel more stupid than the previous year”[32].

14) “My own view would be piracetam makes depressed days worse but upbeat days better” [32].

15) “I was taking Piracetam 1,000 mg twice / day for a month (Prima Force), then I stopped taking it 5 days ago, and I now feel like I am zapped of creativity, and I also feel really dumb. I am making basic spelling errors, and I am having trouble formulating thoughts, and feel like I’m really straining to think. My thoughts were fluid before I started taking it. Is this normal? Is this something I should be concerned about?” [33]

16) “I just got in piracetam yesterday. Tried 3x 800mg yesterday with good effect (I didn’t try to do any work, but felt a lifting of brain fog as with Adderall.)

I woke up after a full night’s sleep with the worst brain fog of my life. Tried 800mg this morning, brain fog intensified. Took lecithin, brain fog intensified. Took another 800mg piracetam ~4hr after the first dose, brain fog even worse. Now at 8 hours since the first dose, I can finally concentrate enough to read again. Has anyone experienced these effects so early on, and gone on to have good effects later? Is Piracetam just not likely to work for me? I’ve got noopept coming in later this week, maybe that will go better” [34].

17) “Personally, piracetam gives me brain fog, with or without choline. I definitely feel something, but it’s not very good” [35].

18) “I find that 400mg – 800mg work best most days, then some days I’ll have to bump to 3.2 g, just for that one day, then the 400mg – 800mg doses work well again. If I do another 3.2g that same day (or even the next day), it results in brain fog” [35].

19) “Interesting article, piracetam didn’t work for me either and I have written similar reviews as in the article online. Some people truly don’t understand what you mean and tell you to take more or something like that. It could very well be that it does nothing at all in most people and the effects are imagined or even real depending on your brain chemistry but I would avoid speculating about the intelligence levels of these people” [35].

20) “Anecdotally, I’m clearer-headed on days I forget to take my racetam dose (PAO stack) [35].

21) “So I ordered some piracetam a while back from bioscience neutraceuticals, I got the package on Monday, and began taking it on Tuesday.

It doesn’t work, and not only does it not work, it actually gives me brain fog, and makes me tired. I ordered CDP choline and sulbutiamine (wasted about $168).

I’ve varied the doses, taken it without choline, taking 4.6 grams, taken .8 mg, taken it with Fish Oil, and every single time, the same brain fog, the same effect.

Now, I’m not trying to sound like a douchebag, but I’m a relatively smart kid naturally. I read all the bs anecdotes on here, and even some of the published studies, and decided to give it a try. I don’t know if it just has an opposite effect on healthy individuals who have brains already functioning pretty well, or what, but this stuff just absolutely sucked for me.

Just wanted to share my experience with anyone else who notices this and keeps trying in hopes of some kind of cognitive edge.

Things I felt

1) Tired
2) brain fog
3) reduced reading speed, and if I attempted to read at my normal pace, I would get words jumbled up

I’m sure that MAYBE (presuming it is not a placebo effect) it works for some people, but if you feel these within the first week of taking it, after titrating doses and doing everything else people recommend, I recommend just throwing it out and calling it a day” [36].

22) “Hi, I’ve been using piracetam for one month now. Always 800mg in the mourning and 800mg in the afternoon. Since last week I’ve added 600mg of choline citrate in the mourning. However, since then, I started getting brain fog sometimes. Brain fog is some very very light feeling of pressure on your head and also a weird feeling of not being able to concentrate well, no clarity. Also, a bit sensitive to light.

So Monday I took my last dose. Now we are Wednesday and I’m still experiencing the brain fog… It scares me.

I also drank alcohol with the piracetam on the weekends, but not very very much. (like 8 beers every Saturday or so)

What should I do?” [37]

23) “I started taking Piracetam back in November last year for various mental issues I was facing; including chronic fatigue (unrefreshing sleep), ADHD (Inattentive type) or ‘brain fog’, mild depression, and Aspergers Syndrome (maybe). Let me tell you that for the 7 months I was consuming Piracetam, it changed my life and all of these symptoms I suffered from were truly eliminated. This all lasted the best part of 7 months and I was taking 2.4grams/3 or 4 times a day. I was supplementing with CDP-choline for the first few months to counteract my initial headaches, but stopped after I read (and realized) that I didn’t need it.

… About two months ago Piracetam’s magical abilities stopped working (even though I was maintaining my normal doses) and all the horrible symptoms came roaring back – the depression, absent-mindedness, brain fog, and the lethargy…I used to only need 6 hours sleep a night, swallow 2.4 grams of Piracetam in the morning and be full of so much energy and life. Now I’m sleeping up to 12 hours and I feel like crap – I’m so drained, anhedonic, and absent-minded… even though I’m maintaining doses. Hell, if anything, Piracetam seems to have the opposite effect nowadays – it makes me more tired and unfocused when I actually do dose” [38].

24) “Here’s what I’ve tried taking:

1.6g Piracetam

Effect: Nothing? Maybe a bit of brain fog? Was my first time ever taking it.

800mg Piracetam

I think I experienced what people call “brain fog.” Took it and then I ended up napping for a bit. Felt extremely lethargic and ineffective. I took Choline Bitartrate beforehand” [39].

25) “Now, after a year of piracetam supplementation at 2,400mg twice a day (morning & evening), getting off for 6 months and getting on again,

I discovered that it causes a familiar slowness and brain fog to a certain lower degree, WITH OR WITHOUT choline (tried CDP choline, alpha GPC, and ALCAR).

These days I often find myself in the basement/fridge, having no longer a clue what I’m looking for + I was at a quiz recently and had to think WAY too hard.

I’m pretty much done with piracetam because of these findings.

I did like the positive effects of piracetam a lot, but there’s definitely something going on with brain fog / short term memory as well.

It’s as if my brain sometimes gets ‘lost'” [40].

25) “My piracetam arrived just a short while ago, so I took 600mg at midday Friday, 1200mg half an hour later. Saturday I took 1,200 mg at about 2 pm. I took no dose on Sunday due to concern about side effects.

The effects I noticed in chronological order where that: Friday evening my orgasm was weaker than usual, less cum. I had an unusually wonderful dream that night. The morning after, same thing weak almost dry orgasm.

Later in the evening, I noticed that a muscle was contracting wildly, something in my wrist was jerking rapidly. After about half a minute it disappeared. Then it came back and disappeared a few times.

That night, same sexual problem. Dreams were normal.

Next (Sunday) morning same problem.

Had some intermittent twitching in the afternoon, but sexual function was restored in the evening” [41].

26) “This morning I took my first dose of piracetam and CDP choline (1.2g and 300mg). I have taken piracetam on one previous occasion, with a fairly good response. I have no history of mental illness and I don’t take any drugs or medication.

Shortly after mixing the two substances in a glass of water and drinking them, I experienced a feeling of pure terror. This episode lasted for almost 2 hours during which I could barely communicate or think. I had gone for a walk after taking the piracetam and it took most of my willpower to remain composed.

I do not exaggerate when I say that this has been one of the worst experiences of my life. It’s now been an hour since the feeling subsided and I’m left feeling drained with mild brain fog (which is subsiding steadily)” [42].

27) “I am trying to continue using Piracetam but I find it always gives me brain fog, even minute quantities of Piracetam with mega doses of Alpha GPC and/or Lecithin. I believe it is the fact that I stacked it with so many things that I no longer get the pure effects (I’m uncertain if this is psychological or biological) I got in the beginning nor any of the results everyone else is preaching

Previous Stacks alongside Piracetam:

DMAE (after that it all went downhill leading me to theorize that DMAE has anticholinergic properties like believed or does when taken on and off too many times)

ACh precursors (went from regular Choline bitartrate to A-GPC to Lecithin)

Aniracetam (made things much worse)

Hydergine [which is the only good combination with Piracetam (nootropic wise) there is IMO]

Alongside herbal regiments (from stimulants to clarity enhancers)

I thought I needed to attack dose once more and when I did so I got such a massive headache the likes which I have never felt before in my life lol

I now find it intensifying OCD type behaviors, resulting in Brain fog no matter how much ACh I take with it.

It works perfectly during its half-life point though overproduction of Alpha waves (measured by neurofeedback EEG). I have tried getting off of it for a period of a week and returned to it today (with a dosage below 200 mg) to see if anything happened, subsequent brain fog (though combined with rhodiola rosea)” [43].

28) “Just got piracetam today. I only took 400mg, but I felt very sleepy after an hour or so. It lasted for about 3-5 hours” [44].

29) “I have experienced this as well, not always exactly sleepy but often a bit tranquil and a sensation familiar to when you recently receive a lot of new impressions. A kind of fatigue” [44].

30) “I was hoping I could get some help classifying some symptoms, and possibly solving them. I’ve been having trouble speaking recently, whether it’s on the phone, or in public. I don’t know if its anxiety or brain fog, but I’ll have difficulty actually saying the words, while knowing what I may want to say. I don’t stutter per se, but I just have trouble speaking properly. This is new, and I’m in my late 20s. It’s been happening now for a month or two.

What I’m taking:

Piracetam 1.6g

Picamilon 150mg

ALCAR 300mg

Fish Oil 900mg

Is it possible anything in my small stack is causing this? Any thoughts on a resolution?” [45]

31) “So I decided to start on my quest for mental glory. I kept reading how Piracetam is so safe that people should probably change the word “safe” itself to “piracetam”. Anyway…I’ve been taking it for three days now.

Day One: 1200 mg and three whole eggs

Day Two: 1200 mg and three whole eggs

Day Three: 2x2400mg and 2x 250/250mg Choline/Inositol. At the end of Day Three, I almost got a panic attack. I’m not sure why – mostly due to stomach uneasiness and weird mouth feeling. The roof (palate) was numb and somewhat rugged. I managed to calm myself down, no panic attack. And got to sleep. Pupils were constricted I think. Now, most people will tell you how piracetam makes your sleep a wonder. You get up all refreshed and everything, willing to conquer new heights, etc. Well, guess what. I slept for over 12 hours and when I got up I felt even more tired than the night before, the palate still tingling, and somewhat nauseated. Mildly depressed and rather irritable. I hated it. Actually, as I’m writing this I still feel nauseated a little bit.

What do you think is that all about? This is just the start of my nootropic quest, I was looking forward to much much tougher stacks and now I crumbled at the very basic one. Don’t know what to do” [46].

32) “I just got 100 caplets of Nootropil 1200mg from overseas.

This morning I took my first dose of 2 caplets ( 2400mg) and felt sleepy.

Is it normal for the first dose?

( I’ve been taking a very sedating antidepressant Avanza 90mg, Klonopin 2mg, for the past 4 yrs at nite…….and I got a tolerance to their effects……sometimes they even don’t sedate me anymore..)

Strangely, as I know, Nootropil is more of a stimulant type, unlike Avanza or Klonopin. But why does it give me a sleepy feeling……is it called as the term ‘Brain fog’?

Maybe I should take a form of Choline with it. (usually, I buy Lecithin granules.)

Is there anyone experiencing this effect for the first time without Choline? Is it called ‘Brain fog’?” [47]

33) “Same experience [Brain Fog], even I have stop Piracetam more than a month still have that exp, I in very serious situation don’t know how to do next, know any sup can help me” [48].

34) “I’ve started taking piracetam capsules, 800mg once a day with 2 x 300mg alpha gpc yet I all day I get a slight headache, last night I even had to take 500mg paracetamol to sleep. I always have two eggs for breakfast and drink a glass of milk during the day.

Yesterday was the first time I began this schedule but I have tried before and had a bit of brain fog.

The day was generally good, I felt confident and very alert, everything was very colorful too. I “crashed” at around 2 pm and had brain fog, I took another coffee (the first one being my morning coffee) and BAM back in business.

Thanks for all the help. I’ve had no headaches since, however, today has been awful in its own way.

I’ve only taken 800mg piracetam and no choline supplementation. Eggs for breakfast and 2 coffees with milk.

I’ve felt a lot of brain fog, irritability and been sweating a lot from the palms of my hands.

Really feel as though I cannot go through with this even till the end of the week. Might try reducing my piracetam intake tomorrow depending on how I feel when I wake up.

No depression but slight anxiety. Fluidity of speech is still good and I’m able to read for lengths of time but I’m getting distracted by thoughts of how it isn’t working too often.n

I felt last night very emotionless for a couple of hours too” [49].

35) “The major downside is that after about 2 – 3 days (taking 1440mg 3x/day), my memory retrieval goes way down to the point that I forget simple things (feels like dementia), it’s like my brain processing speed just takes a nosedive. I also become very aloof like I am not even there with this like blank stare on my face, just really really spaced out I guess. The thing is that even DMAE (although it enhances my concentration) will space me out as well, just not as bad as piracetam. I do not notice any physical symptoms, but I will get a pretty bad headache if I take it with ashwagandha. I’ve tried taking it with choline citrate and also tried taking it with bulk nutrition’s alpha-gpc 50% mix. I have tried taking the piracetam and choline along without taking other supplements to try and pinpoint the problem, but to no avail. I’m totally lost on this” [50].

36) “After this, I looked to achieve the same effect from CDP choline. Although I did get exactly the same results (more energy, better hair, face color, libido, no eye-bags) as soon as I started experiencing the exact same background anxiety as on Alpha GPC so I was forced to discontinue this as well as it significantly impaired my social abilities. From there on I set off to search for another nootropic and this is when I came across noopept. Love at first sight. Noopept made me a happier, smarter more sociable and charismatic person. I continued dosing it on its own (15mg on mornings) for around a month. While on noopept I had the motivation and zest for life that I had been looking for to carry out all the long-term projects I had planned for myself. It’s important to mention that while on noopept there were some days where I still tried phenibut and on a two separate occasions Inderall.

Towards the end of my love affair with noopept, I started experiencing a host of several symptoms. The first symptom came up one afternoon with my girlfriend, where I experienced erectile dysfunction and in the next weeks I started to experience a host of other very alarming symptoms, including:

-Lack of circulation to my hands and feet

-Itchy back

-Digestion problems to the point of constipation

-Easy bloating

-Lack of motivation

-Impaired ability to think and speak (brain fog)

-Pale face, bad hair, bags under eyes – generally looking much older

-Complete loss of libido, loss of feeling, and ability to achieve and maintain an erection.

-Susceptible to flu’s and infections and difficulty healing

-Loss of muscle

-Inability to do sports

This alarmed me to cease all nootropic and supplement use. Given some of the symptoms initially, I was convinced it was a kidney problem. But after a medical check-up, this theory was dismissed. I gave myself a month to see if everything would return to normalcy on its own – but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Some of the findings I gathered during that month: If I would try taking noopept or piracetam (tried once) I would still feel great effects from it. But my body would shut down its ability to achieve an erection. I would lose all feeling and sensitivity down there. As if my body lost its ability to relax in that sense. I would also feel discomfort on my lower back where my adrenals/kidneys are located. Any type of sports would make me too fatigued and looking tired and worn out instead of energized – sensitive to all chemicals or supplements even coffee makes me shaky and anxious (NE effect?). Adaptogen herbs stimulate me way too much (they give me crazy libido but right after it goes back to normal) and I’m left with a hangover effect” [51].

37) “Ok, before I begin… Yes, I have searched all over the forums regarding my problem; however, I have yet to find any solutions.

SUMMARY: I’m getting brain fog (a side effect, I’m under the impression, that is normally due to Choline) from supplementing Piracetam regardless if I add Choline or not.

I first started taking Piracetam about 6 months ago. I originally purchased pills that had the racetam and choline mixed. I would have inconsistent results varying between headaches and brain fog. This led me to purchase bulk powders of the two so that I could experiment with exact, measured doses.

For the first couple of weeks, I experimented with different doses, and I found that 3-6g of Piracetam with little to no Choline was ideal. I was having superb effects; fluid thinking and talking, sharper memory, and felt overall great.

However, after the first couple of weeks, the positive side effects vanished, and I have been left with brain fog and laggy thinking (when I consume the supplements). I’ve tried every combination of Piracetam/Choline. I’ve tried every suggestion I’ve found on the forums; Calcium, Fish or Krill Oil, B-Vitamins, ALCAR, Green Tea, etc. No matter what combination/stack I try, as soon as the Piracetam kicks in, I get some intense brain fog and laggy thinking for the duration of the time that the Piracetam is active/working” [52].

38) “Okay, so this is my story. I started taking choline and piracetam about a week ago. For the first 5-6 days, I experienced the most amazing positive effects (especially when combined with caffeine).

I was taking the following daily doses:

250 mg choline bitrate

800 mg piracetam, 2-3 times a day (roughly every fourth hour)

The effects were as following:

Visualizing music a lot easier, feeling the music deeper

Clearer thoughts

Awake, more energy

Mood boost

confidence boost – reduction in anxiety (hitting more ‘naturally’ on girls, for instance)

emphatic abilities – feeling other peoples emotions a lot deeper

Nature/the sun seems more beautiful – visual enhancements

Greatly improved concentration!

Easier to recall past memories

Greatly improved verbal abilities. Communication seems a LOT more fluid, with no ‘pauses’, due to not recalling the words I wanted to throw into conversations.

– Overall, I felt like an improved version of myself.

For the first day, I took the piracetam without the choline. With or without, I didn’t feel much of a difference.

The only negative effects I felt from the piracetam, was maybe a ‘crash’. When I stopped dosing in the evening, and my last dose (four hours later) would fade away, I would feel very tired.

However, on the sixth day, I barely felt any of the piracetam effects. The effects were diminished like 90-95%. I tried taking a huge piracetam dose, like 4,8g, instead of 800mg, which felt like a weak piracetam dose, but still, nothing, compared to the effects of the first 5-6 days.

I’ve also tried taking a huge choline dose, like 1g, together with 800 mg piracetam, which also seemed to boost the effect a bit, but still way weaker than in the beginning.

Now I’m sitting here, like eight days later, and all I’m getting from the piracetam is tired brain fogging feelings, which is pissing me off. It worked like a wonder drug in the beginning, but like sh*t now…” [53].

39) “Hi there, sorry for this post but I am really angry, I spent a lot of money already, I bought Fish Oil, Noopept, Aniracetam, and choline cdp.

(1st Attempt) I started taking Noopept 20mg a day for 2 weeks, nothing happened, only a terrible headache and fog brain.

(2nd Attempt) I started taking Aniracetam + Choline Cdp every day for 15 days, again, nothing happened, but no headaches.

(3rd Attempt) I have been taking Noopept + Choline CDP for 1 week already, nothing happened, only fog brain, but at this time fewer headaches…

So I spent more than f***ing $100 already and the only thing I noticed was a better mood, but only because of the Fish Oils I am taking…So, in fact, I am starting to think that these products don’t work at all…Please, I need a light for this problem, I am studying for the Cambridge CAE exam and till now these products are giving me more problems. I need something that can be effective… Any suggestions? Thanks!!

Roger, Sydney/Australia” [54].

40) “I read all that “piracetam is the safest drug imaginable – only positive effects”. My experience says: bullsh*t. Seems my brief acceptance of a chemical has come to an end. I guess I’ll only keep my phytonootropics” [27].

My experience (on an 800 mg or 400 mg dose):

  • Numbed emotions – check
  • Very good anxiolytic effect/lack of social anxiety (better than drinking a couple of shots) – on the first two days
  • Absolute drowsiness/sleepy-headedness to the point of not being able to function and HAVING to sleep it off;
  • Waking up with/ feeling a scary numbness of limbs (foot, arms… and brain?? It’s what I feel.) – this has been a bad enough red alert to prompt me to enter this forum.
  • Shortness of breath, and waking up with the impression I wasn’t breathing enough/properly – I actually almost stop breathing if I don’t pay attention to my breath;
  • Strong sexual enhancement – on the first two days
  • Mild memory benefits on long-forgotten memories (weird, not very useful, but was OK)
  • Slightly augmented perception – brighter vision and accentuated smells – on the first day only, except the brightness (which is not very positive anymore);
  • Mild/slightly serious depression (on second and third day – today – and seemingly getting progressively worse with every dose) – never had to struggle with that sh*t anymore since I solved myself on the first years of my adulthood; I feel dumb as hell for trying a minimum dose a few hours ago, as I had cleared myself of the drug-induced depression after waiting if off for a long time;
  • Distortion of experience of time – closed my eyes in bed, and “a month/week” was experienced in 5m of clock time (second day). This experience was normal, that day.
  • Inhibited abstract reasoning (big time) – check (1.6 g dose)
  • Continuously lost simple terms to the tip of my tongue (verbal fluency seems to have been restored after I stopped) 1.6 g dose
  • Forgetting about trivial stuff such as where I left my keys, etc – check 1.6 g dose
  • Felt like a moron struggling with relatively simple tasks – check 1.6 g dose
  • Apathy/Zero motivation (I don’t give a f…/meh…/what am I doing here attitude) which deeply hinders me wanting to do my work, instead of the opposite 1.6 g dose
  • Inability to concentrate on a task AND GET MY JOB DONE. HOW HARD IT MADE FOR ME TO FOCUS AND PRODUCE!! 1.6 g dose and continued after, while less pronounced

And that was MY experience with piracetam. For me too, “It was my first (and probably last) [chemical] nootropic to use”. Much more bad than good came from it. It’s the third day since I’ve tried it and I can’t function even as properly as before [55].

About the Author

Puya Yazdi

Puya Yazdi

MD
Dr. Puya Yazdi is a physician-scientist with 14+ years of experience in clinical medicine, life sciences, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals.
As a physician-scientist with expertise in genomics, biotechnology, and nutraceuticals, he has made it his mission to bring precision medicine to the bedside and help transform healthcare in the 21st century.He received his undergraduate education at the University of California at Irvine, a Medical Doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a Resident Physician at Stanford University. He then proceeded to serve as a Clinical Fellow of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine at The University of California at Irvine, where he conducted research of stem cells, epigenetics, and genomics. He was also a Medical Director for Cyvex Nutrition before serving as president of Systomic Health, a biotechnology consulting agency, where he served as an expert on genomics and other high-throughput technologies. His previous clients include Allergan, Caladrius Biosciences, and Omega Protein. He has a history of peer-reviewed publications, intellectual property discoveries (patents, etc.), clinical trial design, and a thorough knowledge of the regulatory landscape in biotechnology.He is leading our entire scientific and medical team in order to ensure accuracy and scientific validity of our content and products.

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