What Is Fasoracetam?

Fasoracetam is the newest member of the racetam family of nootropics that is currently being developed as a potential non-stimulant ADHD treatment.‍[1]

In 2015, fasoracetam was accepted by the US Food and Drug Administration’s Investigational New Drug program, which grants the developers permission to start human clinical trials and ship the drug across state lines.‍[2]

Publicly-available human studies on fasoracetam are limited but positive, indicating it may effectively treat a specific form of childhood ADHD. Animal studies and anecdotal evidence from users suggest that it may also enhance memory,‍[3] improve sleep,‍[4] relieve anxiety and depression,‍[5]‍[6] and alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs.‍[7]

Fasoracetam was created in the 1990s by the Japanese pharmaceutical company Nippon Shinyaku as a possible treatment for vascular dementia. Development was halted after disappointing clinical trials, but in 2013 the clinical data on fasoracetam (sometimes referred to in research literature as NS-105 or NFC-1) was purchased by the US-based firm NeuroFix, a subsidiary of Aevi Genomic Medicine.‍[8]

Clinical trials on fasoracetam started again in 2016, investigating the compound’s potential for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children who demonstrate a specific mutation of the glutamate receptor system.‍[9] The trials suggested that fasoracetam has potential as a non-stimulant alternative to Adderall and other amphetamine derivatives for ADHD treatment.‍[10]

A phase II proof-of-concept trial was planned for 2018 to investigate fasoracetam as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) treatment.‍[11]

Fasoracetam has not been officially approved for any use by the USFDA and is classified as a research chemical that is not intended for human use.‍[12]

Benefits and Effects of Fasoracetam

Publicly available research on fasoracetam is limited to a small number of animal studies and even fewer human studies.

However, it’s gaining recognition in the nootropic community with many users reporting benefits.

May Improve Memory and General Cognition

In animal testing, fasoracetam effectively prevented or reduced artificially induced amnesia and forgetfulness.‍[13]

Though there is no publicly available data on similar experiments on human subjects, many users say they experience substantial memory improvement when taking it.‍[14]‍[15]

Like other racetam nootropics, fasoracetam increases the amount of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter most responsible for memory, learning, and cognition.‍[16]

May Relieve Anxiety and Depression

Fasoracetam may improve mood, reduce anxiety, and lift depression by acting on two of the brain’s most powerful mood-influencing chemicals, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).‍[17]

By simultaneously up-regulating GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and suppressing the excess production of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, fasoracetam provides what users describe as a smooth, non-jittery feeling of improved mood, relaxation, and calmness.

There are no publicly available studies on fasoracetam’s effect on mood, anxiety, or depression in humans, but many users report that they feel more calm, less anxious, and less depressed when taking it.‍[18]

Animal testing also supports this claim, showing that subjects given fasoracetam in stressful situations were less prone to learned helplessness and other anxious or depressed behavior.‍[19]

Potential ADHD Treatment

One of the few publicly available human studies on fasoracetam suggests that it has powerful potential as a treatment for ADHD.‍[20]

The study, which involved 30 subjects between the ages of 12 and 17, tested the efficacy of fasoracetam in treating ADHD among adolescents who demonstrated a specific mutation in the glutamatergic gene network. This mutation is strongly associated with ADHD and is present in a significant percentage of adolescents with the disorder.

The subjects who took fasoracetam over the five weeks of the study showed marked improvement in all clinical measures during the trial. Reduction of ADHD symptoms persisted in post-trial testing, and none of the study participants demonstrated the development of either tolerance or dependence.

May Alleviate Withdrawal From Other Drugs

Many users report that fasoracetam has helped them during withdrawal from GABA-related CNS depressants gabapentin,‍[21] phenibut,‍[22] and GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid).‍[23]

It’s important to note that there is no documented research on the efficacy or safety of this use of fasoracetam.

How It Works

Fasoracetam’s exact mechanisms of action are not entirely understood. However, it is believed to modulate the production and release of glutamate, GABA, and acetylcholine, three of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters.

Restoring Balance To The Glutamate System

Fasoracetam is known to modulate at least some of the brain’s receptors for glutamate, a crucial excitatory neurotransmitter essential for all aspects of brain function.

Glutamate imbalances are associated with a variety of physical and mental disorders, including depressive disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Fasoracetam works on a specific group of glutamate receptors called metabotropic glutamate receptors, or mGluRs,‍[24] which play a variety of roles in the body and brain but are mainly involved in learning, memory, and anxiety.

The eight known mGluRs work together to maintain a delicate balance, with two acting to increase neural excitation and the remaining six reducing the risk of neurotoxicity by lessening neural excitation as needed.‍[25]

In animal studies, fasoracetam successfully restored the function of two inhibitory mGluRs, slightly lowering glutamate activity in the brain.‍[26]

However, fasoracetam may even modulate all of the metabotropic glutamate receptors, restoring balance to the glutamate system as a whole. This mechanism may explain why fasoracetam may benefit individuals with ADHD, which is typically associated with low glutamate levels, without acting as an overall stimulant.

Upregulating GABA

Fasoracetam has been shown to upregulate the activity of GABA-B receptors, making more GABA available in the brain and central nervous system.‍[27]

Glutamate is also the precursor to GABA, an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that is associated with learning, but has calming effects and helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.

The additional GABA, in combination with the modulation of glutamate receptors, is how fasoracetam may alleviate depression and anxiety, decrease social inhibition, and increase motivation.

In rat studies, this combined action was seen as key to the subjects’ ability to overcome learned helplessness after treatment with fasoracetam.‍[28]

Increasing Available Acetylcholine

Fasoracetam acts as a cholinergic, significantly increasing the uptake of choline in the cortex and hippocampus.‍[29]

The brain uses the additional choline to produce more acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter most strongly associated with learning, memory, and overall cognition.

This cholinergic action, which is typical of piracetam, aniracetam, and other members of the racetam family of nootropics, can create a significant improvement in virtually all aspects of cognition.

However, the additional demand on the choline may deplete the supply, which can result in headaches, brain fog, and low mood. These side effects can usually be countered by taking supplemental choline.

Dosage

Fasoracetam’s effects on humans have not yet been comprehensively documented, so there is no definitive guideline for dosage.

In the ADHD clinical trials on adolescents, fasoracetam was administered orally in an initial single dose of 50–800 mg, followed by subsequent symptom-driven doses up to 400 mg twice daily for 4 weeks.‍[30]

In a small Japanese study of 14 men, daily doses of 100 mg were administered.‍[31]

However, fasoracetam is a very potent compound, and doses as low as 20 mg taken once or twice daily have been reported as effective for some users.‍[32]‍[33]

As with all nootropics, it is best to start with the lowest effective dosage and increase gradually, as needed.

Fasoracetam is water soluble and may be taken with or without food. Some users say they’ve had the best results taking fasoracetam sublingually, but others find that extreme bitterness makes that method unfeasible.

Documentation on the clinical trials with ADHD patients indicates that no degree of tolerance or dependence appeared to develop over the five weeks of the test. On the contrary, maximum effectiveness was observed during the final week of the trial.‍[34] Though this finding is positive it doesn’t mean that tolerance and dependence are impossible, so users are strongly advised to keep in mind that fasoracetam not yet completely understood, and it may be safer to use it cyclically rather than continuously.

Fasoracetam is metabolized by the kidneys, so seniors or those with impaired kidney function should consult a doctor before taking fasoracetam.

Pregnant or nursing women should not take fasoracetam, as its effects and mechanisms of action are not fully known.

Side Effects

Fasoracetam appears to be safe and reasonably well tolerated when taken responsibly by healthy individuals.

The most frequently reported side effects are the same as other nootropics in the racetam family: mild and transitory fatigue, digestive discomfort, and headache.

However, some users report reduced libido and diminished orgasms when taking fasoracetam.‍[35]‍[36]‍[37]

There is no information available on specific interactions between fasoracetam and other drugs, but it may potentiate phenibut.‍[38]

Users who have existing medical problems or are taking any prescription medications should consult a physician before taking fasoracetam.

Stacking

Fasoracetam and Choline Stack

Fasoracetam can be taken alone, but like the other racetams, it is typically combined with a form of supplemental choline for optimal results.

1x–2x per day

Where to Buy

Fasoracetam is not available for purchase at brick-and-mortar stores. If you’d like to buy fasoracetam, you’ll need to order it online.

We recommend ordering fasoracetam from PureNootropics.net as they are a reliable and reputable source for bulk nootropic powders.

Closing Thoughts

Fasoracetam is a new and as yet mostly experimental drug, but it has already developed a strong following in the nootropic community.

Many users find it’s an effective cognitive enhancer that also helps with anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and lack of motivation.

It’s believed to be safe and well tolerated when taken responsibly, and at this point, there seems to be no evidence that taking fasoracetam leads to either tolerance or dependence.

However, very little is known about it. There are few publicly available studies, and there is no documentation on the safety of long-term use, whether cycling is better than continuous dosage, or how it interacts with other drugs.

If you’re only comfortable taking supplements that are well established and thoroughly documented, fasoracetam may not be for you. But if you’re interested in an innovative nootropic that may help banish anxiety and depression, improve focus and concentration, and boost cognition without disturbing your sleep or making you jittery, fasoracetam may be worth exploring.

References   [ + ]

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This page was last updated on April 8, 2019.