People often think of piracetam as a risk-free drug. While it is low risk in comparison to most drugs, there are some potential risks and side effects that people should be aware of.
What is Piracetam?
Piracetam is considered the most popular smart drug or nootropic. People take it to enhance their brain function.
Piracetam is sometimes used in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and aging-related memory impairment [R].
It binds to AMPA receptors (allosteric) and may increase the number of NMDA receptors [R].
To find out about some of the uses and benefits of racetams, read these posts:
My Experience With Piracetam
When I experimented with piracetam, I temporarily experienced brain fog from it. I did have other brain issues at the time, in all fairness to piracetam.
I now have clues why I did poorly on it, which I’ll explain later. I tried 2 different and reliable brands of piracetam (nootropil, cognitive nutrition), as well as aniracetam and oxiracetam.
I varied the dosages of piracetam and choline, as well as the types of choline.
When I got bad results, I couldn’t understand why, since piracetam is supposedly amazing. People on forums told me I must have been doing something wrong.
No Drug is Risk or Side Effect Free, Including Piracetam
I certainly don’t believe all of the negative reviews listed below, especially since a lot of them don’t seem coherent.
My aim in this post is not to demonstrate that piracetam can’t benefit anyone or that you will suffer harm by taking it since some people can benefit from it and the vast majority of people don’t seem to experience any harm from taking it. Some people have been taking it for 30 years, in large doses without any harms.
Rather, my aim is to show that piracetam isn’t this risk-free drug it’s made out to be and more importantly, that if you experience negative results, you shouldn’t dismiss them outright.
Even vitamin C has some risks and side effects associated with it, including diarrhea and kidney stones. However, overall it’s pretty safe.
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, and caution should be taken even with a drug like piracetam, which generally does have a very low-risk profile as far as drugs go.
The fact that anyone can order it without a prescription in the US bolsters the impression of how safe it is.
Again, piracetam is probably safer than the vast majority of drugs. But it’s still a drug and people should approach piracetam and other racetams with the same category of seriousness as other drugs with low toxicity and a relatively low side effect profile.
The same can be said about many “natural” products that can be legally purchased over the counter in the US like forskolin and huperzine-a, among others. I take these sometimes, but I don’t assume that they are risk-free.
Side Effects Reported in Studies
A study of 927 people taking 12g of piracetam for 12-weeks found no adverse effects from piracetam. However, it noted that death within 12 weeks occurred more frequently in the piracetam group but the difference from placebo was not significant [R].
A longer study of 11 people for 18 months reported that 2 people experienced fatigue, but the study concluded that piracetam was “well tolerated” [R].
In a study of 60 people who got a concussion, a daily dose of 4800mg for 8 weeks reduced symptoms. However, side effects were reported by 64% of the patients under piracetam and by 32% under placebo [R].
The study reported the following symptoms in people taking piracetam (out of 60 people) [R]:
In 60 elderly psychiatric patients, the following side effects were reported [R]:
- Mild dizziness
- Increased sexual activity
The study concluded that based on their impression, piracetam was well tolerated by most subjects. All side effects disappeared upon discontinuation of the medication.
- Restlessness (Psychomotor agitation)
- Unhappiness (Dysphoria)
- Memory loss
The study brought down a case report of a 17-year-old kid with OCD, who was stable on an SSRI. He went to the emergency room because his OCD got worse and he experienced restlessness and paranoia. Further investigation revealed that the supplement was piracetam. The parents had not objected to him using the supplement since they perceived it as a safe and “natural remedy.” He was discharged home after a short hospital stay in a stable condition on olanzapine at bedtime. Piracetam was discontinued.
In a study where piracetam was injected into baby rats, it impaired learning by parameters of procedural memory. Farampator, an ampakine, improved short-term memory but appeared to impair episodic memory [R].
Piracetam has anti-platelet activity, meaning that it can thin the blood. So the same cautions would go along with any blood thinner. You should be cautious if you’re taking blood thinning medication, if your platelets are low, you’re at risk of bleeding disorders, or will be going to surgery within 2 weeks [R].
Possible Mechanisms of Side Effects
1) NMDA receptor
Piracetam activates AMPA receptors (allosteric) and increases the number of NMDA receptors. These receptors are also important for learning and plasticity [R].
However, activation of NMDA receptors can potentially cause anxiety, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, OCD, brain fog and a host of psychiatric disorders that are involved in NMDA receptor over-activation.
Memantine, magnesium, zinc, and lithium all block activation of NMDA receptors in some way or another, which is why they are used in a lot of mental health conditions. NAC also has benefits for mental health and reduces activation of NMDA by reducing glutamate.
However, NMDA receptors are complex. They can cause issues when over or under activated. Whether it’s good or bad depends on where it’s located on the neuron (in the synapse or not) and what components the NMDA receptors has (GluN2B vs GluN2A) [R].
2) AMPA receptor
I suspect that the people getting headaches and muscle spasms weren’t taking enough choline or if they were then they were taking too much. Acetylcholine also interacts with sweat glands, possibly contributing to this side effect.
4) Oxidative Stress
In rodents, piracetam increased oxidative stress in the hypothalamus with an equivalent human dosage of around 3.25g (for a 68kg person) [R].
People who are healthy are less likely to notice these effects if they are sleeping well, but this doesn’t imply that nothing is happening under the hood.
Here’s a review that sums it up: “If I take too much, with or without an alpha-gpc choline source, I get a bit tired, or tense, or foggy – especially if I’m not well rested and well fed when I go higher into my ‘personal’ dosing range.”
Increased activation of this receptor may help explain the side effects of sweating, irritability and sleep issues from piracetam.
Very little is known about ampakines; the only example to reach human clinical trials as of 2014 is Cortex Pharmaceuticals’ CX-717, which was evaluated in Phase I for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. However, tissue damage was seen in animal studies and the FDA denied the application and the approval stopped (Cortex claimed this was not caused by the drug). None of the other ampakines is known to currently be in human trials, so little can be proven about their efficacy or safety in healthy individuals [R].
Racetams increase brain plasticity, but that’s not always good. Brain plasticity in the areas of the brain that affect emotional and mood functions could potentially lead to poor emotional regulation and impulsivity if plasticity is excessive and unregulated [R].
At first thought, increased plasticity might seem to be good, by improving learning and cognitive function. However, excessive plasticity could also lead to reduced synaptic pruning. Impairments in synaptic pruning are associated with autistic spectrum disorders. The excessive connectivity leads to a heightened overall brain activation, but the reduction in selectivity of activation. This can cause a lower signal-to-noise ratio [R].
Ampakines increase Long-Term Potentiation (LTP), but increased LTP could lead to impairments in spatial memory and perhaps motor function [R].
One study explaining the theoretical risks of racetams cautions young adults against taking ampakines because it might interfere negatively with development [R].
Mitigating Piracetam’s Negative Effects
Side Effects Reported in Forums
Based on case reports, the main side effects of piracetam and other racetams are:
- Brain fog
- Sleep issues
- Muscle twitching
- Cognitive problems (issues with reading, spelling and verbal retrieval)
1) “Piracetam makes me depressed or more irritated” [R].
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” [R].
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” [R]
6) “I’ve stopped using piracetam, and I still experience some brain fog, like someone is putting pressure on my head… Will this go away?” [R]
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.“
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 lumosity (brain) games, slight pressure in frontal lobe, maybe” [R]
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.” [R]
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. When it does kick in the fog and problems reading go away, but the benefits are very subtle, maybe even subconscious.
11) I did not experience any problems as previously, but I did have problems with speech. When talking I forget words and mumbled.
12) I have been on piracetam for a few weeks. My head feels tight, sort of like a precursor to a headache, but it doesn’t really hurt. I can see how it may cause a migraine in some people though.
13) I was going to start off small but decided to take an attack dose. It seems to make me really tired and irritable.
14) How to repair brain damaged by Piracetam use?
16) Any ideas on why I get extremely irritable from Piracetam (dose dependent). I can feel the irritability with as low a dose as 400mg and is horrible at 3.2g. It also gets worse the more days in a row that I take piracetam. I’ve tried all types of choline (as well as no choline).
17) For me, it worked great until I added Choline. Then I got severe brain fog and I had to stop piracetam.
18) Piracetam initially had no visible effect besides giving me one hell of a headache if I forgot my choline source.
19) From my 10+ years of personal experience, I have found that many times Piracetam made me sleepy, and/or I got a 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 Phosphdylcholine in dosages from 300mg – 1,000mg per day). I have also taken it with Hydregine (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.
20) Piracetam is neurotoxic to me, feel more stupid than the previous year.
21) My own view would be piracetam makes depressed days worse but upbeat days better.
22) 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?
23) I take piracetam in cycles of a few months at about 10 grams per day, and notice feeling considerably slower following the cessation of use. It’s difficult to directly attribute the dullness to the stoppage of piracetam, but I certainly do feel a lot ‘duller’ when I am not using it – moreso than before I even began using piracetam in the first place. Kinda disconcerting.
24) I was taking Piracetam until a routine blood test showed I had higher than normal HCT (Hematocrit) and Hemoglobin levels. HCT is a percentage of the concentration of red blood cells vs. plasma in the blood and a high level could be an indicator for Polycythemia. Turns out, Piracetam has been shown to stimulate erythropoiesis (production of red blood cells) in rats.(a) None of the research I had done previously had shown any relationship between erythropoiesis and Piracetam, so I didn’t immediately make a connection. The risks of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents or ESAs are many. Studies show that patients with breast or advanced cervical cancers who receive erythropoiesis-stimulating agents to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy died sooner or have more rapid tumor growth than similar patients who don’t receive the anemia drugs. They have also been shown to have increased heart risks and could cause harm to those with kidney disease. Bottom line? Check with your doctor before using this as a supplement! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8203283
25) I had been taking Piracetam with CDP Choline for about a week when I started to notice some kidney pain which got more severe over time. Also, my urine started smelling bad enough to where someone made a comment in a public restroom. I initially thought the pain was caused by a sports injury I got while playing football but the injury eventually subsided and the pain persisted. I did not take any piracetam today and I have noticed that it is slowly starting to feel better. Any reason why this may be happening or a way I can remedy this?
26) 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.
27) Piracetam didn’t work for me, I felt like it made me dumber. Definitely messed with my sleep.
28) Personally, piracetam gives me brain fog, with or without choline. I definitely feel something, but it’s not very good.
29) I find that 400mg – 800mg work best most days, then some days I’ll have to bump to 3.2g, 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.
30) Interesting article, piracetam didn’t work for me either and I have written similar reviews as in the article online. Some people truly won’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.
31) Anecdotally, I’m clearer-headed on days I forget to take my racetam dose (PAO stack).
32) the first few days/week I feel sharper, more on the ball.. then I feel completely retarded indefinitely until I stop taking it
33) Negative Effects: Brain Fog. There’s like something radiating or a mild pressure inside my head. I also can’t seem to think better, I’m hoping it’s just my brain or my stack is not properly balanced and need to find my magic ratio. Foggy or Blurred Eyes. This is a bit worrying. After I take this stack, I kinda notice there’s like a thin film cover in some parts of my vision and it’s not mote. I hope it won’t affect my eyesight, though if things don’t improve with your help guys or if I can’t find a good ratio between the supplements I’m giving up on this. Mild Stomach Pains? I think this is just from negative thinking because Piracetam is still a new supplement for me. Everything seems fine though. Still taking a crap every day and nothing weird about urine. (I read that Piracetam can cause bloody diarrhea and some nasty other stuff.)
34) I have been using piracetam on and off since April this year, and every time I have gotten brain fog and felt really retarded in the end. So I bought choline (cdp-choline and alpha-gpc) and stacked it, did this the entire summer, it was better but I still became as bright as a cow in the end, I remember once when I was going to mix some EAA in a bottle, I had to think really hard before I did it because I didn’t know what to begin with, I knew what I was going to do, but I didn’t know where to start. And when I was going on a trip abroad I had to pack my stuff of course, and again I didn’t know where to begin or when I was done. So I figured I should try another source of choline and bought some DMAE and choline citrate, I still get cloudy, and I really can’t afford to be “retarded” now when I’m studying biology.
So every time I see someone saying that piracetam makes them “more focused” and so on, I think to my self “what can I do to achieve that?” but now I have no clue, I have tried different dosages of the choline supps and piracetam, but it doesn’t seem to help.
I usually take 4ml of piracetam in the morning with 1-2 cdp choline and/or 1-2 alpha-gpc, 1ml of choline citrate, .5ml of dmae, and 1ml bacopa and .5ml ashwagandha.
1ml is approx. 700mg. I must add that when I began taking piracetam in July, after a break for about four weeks, I became stimulated and creative, just like I got when I tried it the first time, but eventually it faded away, so I do know what piracetam can bring, but I can’t keep the effect, it always disappears.
35) I started off by using Piracetam 800-1200mg thrice daily, Alpha GPC 250mg AM, ALCAR 500 mg twice daily I had an increased focus, but sometimes I noticed a mild brain fog. Then I used: Piracetam 800 – 1,200 mg thrice daily, Alpha GPC 250 mg AM, CDP choline 250 mg twice daily, ALCAR 250 mg twice daily, and I noticed decreased motivation and depression.
36) 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
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.
37) 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?
38) 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.
39) Going through the same thing as the OP right now[#38 – fatigue, anhedonic, and absent minded], almost exactly, except the positive effects of Pira only lasted 2 months or so for me. I have tried upping the dose, lowering it, with/without cdp-choline (high and low amounts), I have tried taking a break from it and starting again – nothing, it’s like the ‘magic’ has just gone completely, like when people say the magic of MDMA has gone after taking it for so many times.
40) From a retailer: “If I take too much, with or without a choline source, I get a bit tired, or tense, or foggy – especially if I’m not well rested and well fed when I go higher into my “personal” dosing range.”
41) I am 28 years old, 160 lb, very little body fat and quite lean (very high metabolism). I am an IT professional, slightly sedentary due to the nature of my job, but I do play sports on the weekend and exercise once or twice a week. My goal here is to improve my memory and focus, and reduce depression which I’ve struggled with for years. I am also a recovering addict. So I started taking Piractem on March 14. I purchased a 500 gram tub from an online source (SNS) from Amazon. I started with an attack does 3x2g for the first couple of days, noticing remarkable or not magical improvements in memory, focus, concentrations, and especially verbal skills. The same day I began taking it, verbal communication was much more fluid, I felt intensely focused on tasks at work, and could recall memories from earlier in the day without hesitation (all of these things I usually struggle with)….For about the first 5 days the effects remained as I stated earlier. I also began supplementing with 300mg of Alpha GPC on day 3 just to make sure my choline levels were not becoming depleted. After day 5, I suddenly noticed I become very irritable when I woke up. I was so annoyed by my pet rabbit thumping around in his cage that I shouted and cursed at him with fiery. When I got to work, I noticed my brain was in a “fog“, in that there was little depth to my thoughts, and my verbal fluidity which I had been enjoying was suddenly missing (I began stumbling over words and hesitating when thinking of a word to use). I also felt rather apathetic and lethargic, and actually fell asleep at my desk after lunch for about 30 min. Regardless, I continued with my regime of Piracetam (2g x 3 per day) and 300mg of A-GPC for this past week. This pattern of tiredness and irritability and depression has continued for several days with no improvements. The positive effects that I was feeling the week before have subsided completely, and I am left with these negative side-effects. I am not sure if this is my brain becoming burned out on the Piractem, or maybe a chemical imbalance that I have overlooked. I know for sure that I am a positive responder to racetams, but unfortunately, it has been short-lived at this point.
42) I’ve noticed some negative effects lately, some of which I’ve encountered before: First of all, there’s a state of sleepiness, that doesn’t seem to be correlated with the amount of sleep that I get. For instance, I got 8 hours of sleep last night and still feel as if I should be taking a nap. If I’m stimulated or have something interesting to do I snap out of it quickly but otherwise it creeps back on me. There are confounding factors (like reduced caffeine intake), but I still feel it’s at least partially induced by piracetam. Secondly, I lose track of time sometimes … I get lost in my thoughts and time passes by without me noticing. I “wake up” hours later and realize I’ve done nothing useful. Is this effect (maybe combined with sleepiness) what people here call “brain fog”? I’ve also notice tightness in the muscles surrounding the eyes, especially an hour or two after administration, when the effects peak.
43) Here’s what I’ve tried taking:
Effect: Nothing? Maybe a bit of brain fog? Was my first time ever taking it.
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.
44) Gave up on Piracetam after intermittently getting great results but more Brain fogs, drowsiness than the great results… Tried lowering/increasing dosage, different types of choline sources, (CDPCHOLINE actually made it worse)…
45) I recently started experiencing more insomnia than normal, and lessening of sleep for just one week has turned the positive effects of Piracetam into brain fog.
46) 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”.
47) 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.
48) 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).
49) 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).
50) 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.
51) 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.
52) 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:
Fish Oil 900mg
Is it possible anything in my small stack is causing this? Any thoughts on a resolution?
53) 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. 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.
54) Since being diagnosed with ADHD I have recently started taking Concerta, 54 mg a day.
I haven’t felt any cognitive improvement in these two weeks that I’ve been on the drug, rather the contrary. I’m studying physics and I no longer understand stuff that used to be simple for me. Is this a common reaction to Concerta? is it dose dependent?
I’m also taking piracetam, choline bitartrate, ala, alcar, tyrosine but I can’t imagine this effect to be caused by any of those substances since I have been using them for a long time without any adverse effects.
I have an exam tomorrow and I’m starting to panic. *****It’s the piracetam, buddy*****
55) Yesterday I took 4.8 grams of piracetam 3 times a day with the last dose at around 8 p.m. I’m almost positive that piracetam caused it and I’ve read somewhere that it has an effect on norepinephrine so it makes sense.
Today I felt pretty anxious/sh*tty, but the effects of piracetam were still there, but with much more brain fog. IMO I don’t think piracetam is worth it if I can’t sleep, but there must be a way to take it so that I can still sleep!
56) 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” ?)
57) Been taking 1 pill 3 times a day. It makes me calmer and slower – I feel like I`m 50, not 29. But otherwise, no other effects. Disappointed.
58) I had such a crap sleep. I usually sleep like a dead man, but last night I couldn’t fall asleep, then I woke up a few times.
59) 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.
60) 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.
I felt last night very emotionless for a couple of hours too.
61) 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 nose dive. 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.
62) After writing this post I emailed Vince, a writer I respect and who claims on his blog to take piracetam. Vince: “I read your interesting blog entry. Actually, after supplementing with piracetam for several years, I stopped taking it about six months ago when my supply ran out. Subjectively, consistent with what you are reporting, either there has been no effect or my mind has probably been clearer and productivity enhanced since I stopped taking it. When I started taking piracetam over a dozen years ago I was fairly naïve and accepted the studies supporting its use at face value. from my current perspective, such as looking at the study you mentioned in your blog entry, I quite agree that the research case supporting the use of piracetam may be very weak. I have yet to update my treatise eliminating piracetam from my suggested regimen.
63) After half a year, piracetam lost its edge, and when I did take it I felt irritated without a plus side.
64) 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
-Digestion problems to the point of constipation
-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”
65) 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.
66) 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
Awake, more energy
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…
67) I took Piracetam for 3 weeks and have been noticing withdrawal effects, such as muscle weakness, spasms, slight cognitive decline, difficulty digesting food and constipation. I thought this wasn’t supposed to have withdrawal effects, but it has. It’s been 2 weeks since I took my last dose and the effects don’t seem to be going away.
UPDATE: It’s been 3 weeks now and I’m still experiencing the same side effects. Indigestion and complete constipation. Can’t poop without Miralax, and even then, I barely go. Seems like my involuntary muscles just completely stopped working. Hopefully, people will see this as a warning
(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!!
69) Not sure whether permanent, however, I have had issues when combining piracetam with other racetams, such as aniracetam. I end up feeling sleepy all the time when combing it with aniracetam. I noticed some brain fog when taking too much piracetam (i believe it was over 2x 800 mg at the time would cause adverse symptoms). However, my brain power was insane when taking normal doses. It was as if I was so lucid.
I did notice that after leaving it, I did not feel as lucid as before, as if something was missing. However, I would not say that I felt permanently stupid. To me, it was more like: I felt incredibly smart with piracetam, now without it, I feel normal.
In case you wondered, I discontinued piracetam because I experienced better effects with aniracetam.
70) 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.
My experience (on an 800mg or 400mg 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 (1.6g dose)
- Continuously lost simple terms to the tip of my tongue (verbal fluency seems to have been restored after I stopped) 1.6g dose
- Forgetting about trivial stuff such as where I left my keys, etc – check 1.6g dose
- Felt like a moron struggling with relatively simple tasks – check 1.6g 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 1.6g dose
- Inability to concentrate on a task AND GET MY JOB DONE. HOW HARD IT MADE FOR ME TO FOCUS AND PRODUCE!! 1.6g 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 [R].
Responding to Criticism
Critics of this post argue that you can find negative reports about any drug or supplement. This is true, but for some reason, piracetam is seen as a side effect- and risk-free.
Also, the reports center around brain fog, which is rare for case reports, while something like nausea is pretty common.
Another critique is that the case reports are meaningless because there are many studies that show it’s safe. My response to that is we can’t know if something is safe with animal studies and a few small trials.
It took us more than 40 years to realize cigarettes are harmful (I don’t think piracetam is nearly as harmful as cigarettes). Also, in many cases, drugs that have had rigorous clinical trials in humans and have been used by millions of people are later discovered to have serious risks and side effects that were previously undisclosed or unknown.
I would be very surprised if piracetam was found to have serious negative side effects. On the other hand, even some of the best, safest and longest running drugs have risks and side effects that we didn’t know before.
These reports are in no way comprehensive – you’ll find many more if you do some digging. I feel that any safe “nootropic” should not have so many case reports of cognitive side effects.