Summary

Fasoracetam is a potent and promising addition to the racetam family of nootropics. It may be capable of enhancing mood, memory, and cognition while providing relief from anxiety and depression, and it has potential as a non-stimulant ADHD treatment. Though there’s much still to be learned about fasoracetam, anecdotal evidence suggest that it’s a uniquely effective nootropic that boosts brain power without creating tolerance or dependence.

Though fasoracetam is a relative newcomer on the nootropic scene, it was developed more than 20 years ago 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 was purchased by the US-based firm NeuroFix (now a subsidiary of Aevi Genomic Medicine).

Clinical trials on fasoracetam started again in 2016, this time focused on the compound’s potential for treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children who demonstrate a specific mutation of the glutamate receptor system. The trials, which progressed to stage 3, showed great promise for fasoracetam as a non-stimulant alternative to Adderall and other amphetamine derivatives for ADHD treatment.

Fasoracetam has not been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration and remains unregulated at this time. However, in 2016 the FDA has accepted a Fasoracetam Investigational New Drug Application for review, and it has been reported that a phase II proof-of-concept trial is planned for 2018.‍[1]

Whether or not fasoracetam is approved as a childhood ADHD treatment, its mechanisms of action may make it a powerful cognitive enhancer.

Benefits and Effects

Improves Memory and General Cognition

Animal tests suggest that fasoracetam effectively prevents memory problems and reduces amnesia and forgetfulness.‍[2] Though there is no publicly available data on similar experiments using human subjects, many users say they experience substantial memory improvement when taking it.‍[3]‍[4] This claim is borne out by the compound’s action in the brain; like other racetam nootropics, fasoracetam increases the amount of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter most responsible for memory, learning, and cognition.

Relieves Anxiety and Depression

Fasoracetam improves mood, reduces anxiety, and lifts depression by acting on two of the brain’s most powerful mood-influencing chemicals, glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 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 say they feel more calm, less anxious, and less depressed when taking the supplement.‍[5] Animal testing also bears out this claim, showing that subjects given fasoracetam in stressful situations were less prone to learned helplessness and other syndromes indicative of anxiety and depression.‍[6]

Potential ADHD Treatment

The only publicly available human study on fasoracetam suggests that it has powerful potential as a treatment for ADHD.‍[7] 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, and reduction of ADHD symptoms persisted in post-trial testing.

Increases Creativity and Motivation

As more and more people test fasoracetam’s nootropic effects, anecdotal evidence of its ability to enhance creativity and increase motivation is building. Many users report that fasoracetam not only makes them feel more spontaneously creatively inspired, it also helps motivate them to start, carry through, and successfully complete creative projects.

Though not backed by research data, these user self-reports are credible in light of fasoracetam’s mood-boosting properties and ability to increase the production and release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is largely responsible for learning and cognition.

Reduces Social Anxiety

Many fasoracetam users report a marked reduction in social anxiety, similar to that experienced when taking phenibut. User self-reports include feeling less inhibition and dissociation, more motivation to interact, more confidence, and better verbal fluency. Though there is no human research data to confirm these effects, they could be logically expected given fasoracetam’s actions on the production and release of GABA, glutamate, and other brain chemicals.

How It Works

Fasoracetam’s exact mechanisms of action are not entirely understood, but it is believed to work mainly by affecting 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, 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.

In animal studies, fasoracetam successfully restored the function of two inhibitory mGluRs, thus slightly lowering glutamate activity in the brain.‍[8] However, it is thought that fasoracetam may well modulate all of the metabotropic glutamate receptors, restoring balance to the glutamate system as a whole. This 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

Glutamate is also the precursor to GABA, an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that is also associated with learning, but has calming effects and helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Fasoracetam has been shown to upregulate the activity of GABA-B receptors, making more GABA available in the brain and central nervous system.

This action, particularly in combination with the modulation of glutamate receptors, is at the heart of fasoracetam’s ability to 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.‍[9]

Increasing Available Acetylcholine

Fasoracetam is a powerful cholinergic, significantly increasing the uptake of choline in the cortex and hippocampus. 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, it can also lead to swift depletion of the brain’s choline resources, which can result in headache, brain fog, and low mood. This effect can be largely countered by taking supplemental choline as part of any racetam stack.

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 twice-daily doses ranging from 100 mg to 400 mg. However, fasoracetam is a very potent compound, and doses as low as 5 to 20 mg taken twice daily have been reported as effective for some users. As with all nootropics, it is best and safest to start with the lowest effective dosage and increase gradually, as needed.

Some users say they’ve had the best results taking fasoracetam sublingually, but others find that extreme bitterness makes that method unfeasible.

One of the more exciting aspects of fasoracetam was demonstrated in the clinical trials with ADHD patients, during which no degree of tolerance appeared to develop over the five weeks of the test; on the contrary, maximum effectiveness was observed during the final week of the trial. Also, neither the ADHD trials or earlier animal studies indicated the development of dependence. While this is encouraging, it doesn’t mean that tolerance and dependence are impossible, so users are strongly advised to keep in mind that fasoracetam is as yet incompletely understood and it may be safer to use it cyclically rather than continuously.

Fasoracetam metabolism is dependent on the kidneys, so elderly people 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 well tolerated when taken responsibly by healthy adults. The most frequently reported side effects are the same as those common to the rest of the racetam family: mild and transitory fatigue, digestive discomfort, and headache.

There is no information available on specific interactions between fasoracetam and other drugs, but 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.com 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 a good solution for anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation, while others swear by its ability to increase clarity, cognition, and focus.

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.

If you’re interested in a nootropic that may help banish anxiety and depression, improve focus and concentration, and boost cognition without disturbing your sleep or making you jittery, fasoracetam could be the nootropic you’re looking for.

References   [ + ]

Planning to start a new supplementation regimen? See our medical disclaimer.

This page was last updated on November 15, 2018.