Summary

Phenylpiracetam is a powerful synthetic stimulant nootropic that may have the potential to boost mood, memory, cognition, and physical function.‍[1]

Phenylpiracetam is a modified version of piracetam developed at the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1983. It was originally created as a treatment for the prolonged stress experienced by cosmonauts on extended space missions but was later manufactured and prescribed in Russia as a general stimulant or to increase tolerance to extreme temperatures and stress.‍[2]

Though human research on phenylpiracetam is currently limited to a small number of Russian studies, it has been shown to help restore neurologic functions and daily living activities to post-stroke patients‍[3] and improve depression, anxiety, and cognitive function in patients with organic brain lesions.‍[4]

Phenylpiracetam was sold by prescription in Russia under the name Phenotropil until 2017 when it was discontinued because of conflicts between Phenotropil inventor Valentina Akhapkina and Russian pharmaceutical company Valenta, which produced the drug. Akhapkina, who is one of the copyright holders of patents and trademarks on Phenotropil, said a newly-formed company called Vira Innfarm would produce the drug in the future.‍[5]

In North America and other parts of the world, phenylpiracetam is widely used off-label as a stimulant nootropic, believed by many to enhance focus, productivity, and physical stamina.

Phenylpiracetam has not been approved for any use by the US Food and Drug Administration and is unregulated in the US, where it can be legally sold and purchased. It can not be legally sold in Canada but may be legally imported and used there.

Phenylpiracetam has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency because of its stimulant properties and its ability to help users tolerate extreme cold.‍[6]

Benefits and Effects

Memory and Cognitive Enhancement

Clinical trials show that phenylpiracetam improved cognition in stroke patients‍[7] and patients with organic brain lesions.‍[8]

While there is no documented research on how phenylpiracetam affects young, healthy individuals, many users report that it makes them alert, motivated, and productive.‍[9]‍[10]

Some users say it particularly enhances memory, bringing back memories from many years ago.‍[11]

Animals studies also indicate that phenylpiracetam has anti-amnesic properties.‍[12]‍[13]

Energy Booster

Phenylpiracetam is known to act as a psychostimulant, an effect that may be due in part to its chemical resemblance to phenethylamine substances like Adderall.

The extent of phenylpiracetam’s energizing effect on humans has not been studied, but animal testing confirms that it increases locomotor activity.‍[14] A 2015 patent application for phenylpiracetam’s use as a sleep disorder treatment says tests on rats indicated the compound’s ability to combat sleepiness and improve motivation is stronger than that of methylphenidate and amphetamine.‍[15]

Many user self-reports indicate that phenylpiracetam’s stimulant effects are similar to those of modafinil, decreasing feelings of fatigue and improving both productivity and social fluency.‍[16] Other users say its effects are similar to those of dextroamphetamine.‍[17]

Phenylpiracetam is included on WADA’s list of banned stimulants.‍[18]

Anxiety Reducer and Antidepressant

Animal studies suggest that phenylpiracetam can act as an anti-depressant and anxiolytic, preventing anxiety and fear response and increasing locomotion and exploratory behavior in mice.‍[19]

Though there are no documented human studies on this aspect of phenylpiracetam, user reports confirm that it has significant anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects.

Former Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov, who took phenylpiracetam during his 197-day space voyage, said it was prescribed for its ability to enhance the performance of both the mind and body under high stress. Serebov described phenylpiracetam as an “equalizer of the whole organism” and “completely excluding impulsiveness and irritability, inevitable in the conditions of high nervous tension of space flight.‍[20]

How It Works

Phenylpiracetam’s chemical structure is the same as piracetam, with an additional phenyl group attached. The phenyl group increases phenylpiracetam’s ability to dissolve in fats, oils, and lipids, which in turn may enhance its absorption and transport properties within the body.‍[21] This effect may explain why phenylpiracetam is much stronger than piracetam and crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily and efficiently.

Phenylpiracetam is fast acting, detectable in the brain within 30 minutes of ingestion, and it has a half-life of 2 – 3 hours.

In the brain, phenylpiracetam has several mechanisms of action, most of which involve stimulating the production of various neurotransmitters.

It acts as an ampakine, increasing levels of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate by stimulating AMPA receptors. This action is associated with improved cognitive function‍[22] and may play a significant role in phenylpiracetam’s ability to enhance memory, focus, and overall cognition.

Animal studies showed that phenylpiracetam also increases extracellular dopamine levels, both by activating the dopaminergic system and by acting as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor.‍[23]  Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that is associated with reward, motivation, memory, attention and the regulation of emotions and body movements, and increased dopamine levels are believed to be responsible at least in part for phenylpiracetam’s positive effects on motivation, mood, and focus.

Dopamine is also a direct precursor of the stimulatory neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which increases heart rate, blood pressure, and the levels of fat and sugar in the blood. These effects are thought to be related to phenylpiracetam’s energy and stamina boosting capability.

Like other racetam-type nootropics, phenylpiracetam also increases production of acetylcholine, sometimes referred to as “the learning neurotransmitter” because it is so closely associated with all aspects of cognition. The brain needs choline in order to produce acetylcholine and may quickly deplete its stores when taking racetams, which is why supplemental choline is generally suggested as an accompaniment to phenylpiracetam.

Dosage

A typical dose of phenylpiracetam ranges from 100-250 mg per dose, taken with meals, up to three times a day.‍[24]

New users are advised to start at the lower end of the dosage range and increase if necessary.

It is widely but not universally reported by users that tolerance to phenylpiracetam’s effects may develop relatively quickly; user self-reports suggest that tolerance is a particular problem regarding phenylpiracetam’s energizing and physical stamina properties.‍[25] Many users advocate cycling the drug or taking it as an occasional “booster” as needed rather than taking it continuously.‍[26]‍[27]

Stacking

Here is an example of how phenylpiracetam can be combined with other nootropics, for enhanced effects.

Daily

As Needed for Studying/Workouts/Tests

This stack may be especially suitable for students or athletes. A healthy balanced daily routine while saving the powerful effects of phenylpiracetam for when it is needed most.

Benefits may include enhanced motivation, focus, energy, a reduced need for sleep, increased stamina, and improved mood.

Side Effects

Like other nootropics in the racetam class, there are few reported side effects from supplementing phenylpiracetam at the recommended dosages.

The most commonly reported side effect is headache, which is typical of most racetams and may indicate that additional choline is needed.‍[28]‍[29]

Some users report unpleasant effects the day after taking phenylpiracetam, including irritability and brain fog.‍[30]

Others say that taking high doses of phenylpiracetam continuously over a prolonged period can result in difficulty sleeping, depression, and emotional instability.‍[31]

Where to Buy

Phenylpiracetam can be ordered online from PureNootropics.net. They are one of our favorite suppliers for our nootropics, their packaging is fantastic, and their batches are tested for purity by third-party labs.

Always stick to reputable vendors when buying nootropics.

Closing Thoughts

Phenylpiracetam is a powerful drug with an intriguing history and an impressive list of potential benefits.

Originally developed for use by Soviet cosmonauts on long space voyages, it’s known to be a potent stimulant that can help users tolerate extreme cold. It was prescribed in Russia as a general tonic for more than a decade, and it’s believed by many to boost mood and motivation, improve memory and focus, and enhance general cognition.

There are plenty of pros related to phenylpiracetam. Its energizing and stamina-producing properties are intense, fast acting, and effective enough to land it on WADA’s list of banned stimulants.

Many users say it gives them a powerful cognitive boost and makes them intensely productive, fiercely focused, and extremely motivated.

There are few documented side effects, and it’s readily available at reasonable prices.

However, there are some cons to consider as well. There is little available documented research on how phenylpiracetam affects humans, so most evidence about it is anecdotal.

It’s a unique compound and its effects appear to vary considerably from user to user. User self-reports suggest tolerance to its energizing and physical stamina effects may build quickly, and though most users experience little to no side effects, others say it leaves them with a definite “day after” syndrome that includes lethargy, irritability, and brain fog.

If you’re interested in adding a stimulant nootropic to your regimen, phenylpiracetam might be one to consider.

Taken responsibly, with close attention to recommended dosages, cycling, and stacking, it may provide the physical and cognitive boost you’re looking for.

References   [ + ]

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

This page was last updated on November 5, 2018.