Picamilon’s diverse effects make it a truly unique supplement. Like all nootropics it boosts brain function, improving memory, concentration, motivation, attention span, and general productivity. However, its energizing effects are only half the picture; it also calms, relaxes, and produces a tranquilizing effect that significantly reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.

This combination of energizing and calming effects, along with its low cost, ready availability, and lack of serious side effects, makes picamilon an increasingly popular choice for anyone who wants to manage stress and anxiety while maximizing their cognitive abilities.

Picamilon was developed in Russia sometime between 1969 and 1971. The product of the Soviet Union’s All Union Vitamin Research Institute, picamilon was synthesized as part of the Institute’s research into potentially performance-enhancing substances.

Today picamilon is sold in Russia as a prescription drug and is used for the treatment of a variety of illnesses and disorders, ranging from depression to migraine, neuroinfections, senile psychosis, certain types of glaucoma, and even acute alcohol intoxication.

As of 2015, the FDA classified picamilon as a substance that does not meet the requirements of a dietary supplement and is therefore no longer permitted to be sold in the United States.

Benefits and Effects

Picamilon’s broad range of effects include both cognitive enhancement and mood management, as follows:

  • Learning and Memory Enhancement
    Picamilon has been shown to make learning faster and easier and to improve both long-term and short-term memory.‍[1]
  • Better Concentration, Alertness, and Mental Stamina
    By stimulating better flow and circulation of blood in the brain, picamilon has significant positive effects on a wide array of cognitive functions, including increasing the ability to focus thought and enhancing overall mental energy or stamina.‍[2]
  • Mood Stabilization
    Picamilon has been shown to have powerful anti-anxiety effects, markedly reducing the effects of stress. It may also help alleviate depression.
  • Brain and Body Relaxation Without Sedation
    Users report that taking picamilon results in a feeling of pleasant relaxation without the mental fog or grogginess that is generally associated with sedatives or tranquilizers. Most people say it gives them a feeling of “calm energy.”
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
    While not desirable in all cases, picamilon’s ability to lower blood pressure can be a significant benefit to those with hypertension that is increased by stress and anxiety.
  • Improves Sleep
    Though it seems contradictory for a single supplement to both improve energy and make for better sleep, many picamilon users say it does just that. Since it is not a tranquilizer, sedative, or muscle relaxer, this effect could be due in large part to picamilon’s stress reducing and anti-anxiety properties.

How It Works

Picamilon is a combination of two common, but essential nutrients, niacin and GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid. Separately, each plays an important role in brain health, but bonded together they react synergistically to create unique benefits.

The true power of picamilon is in the niacin component’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, a semi-permeable capillarial filter designed to protect the brain, and take the bonded GABA component with it. GABA, a powerful neurotransmitter that cannot cross the blood-brain barrier on its own, is thus transported into the central nervous system for use throughout the brain and body.

The actual mechanism of action through which picamilon works is both rapid and direct. It is a water-soluble compound that is absorbed readily and reaches maximum bioavailability within an hour of ingestion.

After crossing the blood-brain barrier picamilon is hydrolyzed, or chemically split back into separate components niacin or nicotinic acid and GABA. The niacin component acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow within the brain and improving the absorption of oxygen and other nutrients. At the same time, the GABA component increases brain levels of this important inhibitory neurotransmitter, which acts by reducing neuronal excitability.‍[3]

Picamilon’s cognitive enhancement effects can be attributed in large part to the increased efficiency that increased brain blood circulation and oxygen absorption creates. The increased blood flow in the brain also improves the delivery and absorption of glucose and other nutrients, which can increase alertness, focus, motivation, and overall brain energy. It is also believed to have a significant antioxidant effect, helping to break down and remove toxins in the brain.

The relaxing and calming effects of picamilon are created by the increased levels of GABA, a potent neurotransmitter that acts by inhibiting neuronal firing, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety by producing a mildly sedative effect.


Recommendations for picamilon’s daily dosage vary considerably, depending to a large extent on the particular effects that you hope to experience.

A cumulative dosage of between 50–400 mg per day is typical, with most users finding efficacy somewhere between 100–200 mg divided into two to three doses. However, for those who are primarily interested in picamilon’s cognitive enhancements and general mood stabilization lower dosages may prove to be best, while those seeking substantial increases in energy levels may wish to build up to higher dosages.

Picamilon works relatively quickly and is relatively long-lasting. Users say effects are noticeable within an hour of ingestion and last for 4–6 hours.

It is water-soluble and can be taken in either capsule or powder form, preferably on an empty stomach.

Though picamilon is generally considered to be well-tolerated and mainly without serious side-effects, it is a very potent supplement and should be used responsibly. As with all supplements, it is wise to start with the lowest possible effective dosage and increase gradually as needed.

While some users prefer to cycle picamilon with other nootropics that have an anti-anxiety component, there is no evidence that taking it on a daily basis has any adverse effect.


Picamilon is effective in many modes: it can be taken alone on a daily basis, cycled with other supplements, or combined with other nootropics.

In a stack with racetam-class nootropics such as piracetam or pramiracetam, picamilon’s cognitive enhancement properties will be potentiated. However, depending on which racetam supplement you combine with picamilon, you could also experience heightened energy or relaxation effects, or even both. In combination with ampakine racetam supplements such as aniracetam and oxiracetam, both of which have stimulant properties, picamilon’s energy-boosting and mood-modulating effects will be enhanced.

Some users say combining picamilon with other supplements such as kava can increase its energy producing properties while using it in combination with relaxant supplements like valerian will make its calming properties stronger.

Side Effects

Picamilon is typically considered to be safe and well-tolerated, but some side effects have been reported. The most serious potential side effect is low blood pressure, so if you are prone to hypotension or have any reason to be concerned with low blood pressure, you should consult a medical professional before taking picamilon.

Allergies and skin rashes have been reported as side effects, but they are not common. Typically reported side effects include headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, and nausea. Red flushing of the skin, a common and harmless side effect of niacin, is also occasionally reported.‍[4]

Where to Buy

Picamilon is no longer available for sale in the United States due to recent regulatory changes with the FDA. For an alternative substance that has a similar effect as picamilon, have a look at phenibut.

Closing Thoughts

Picamilon is a popular nootropic, and with good reason: it can both energize and relax, it’s safe and well-tolerated, it has very few reported side effects, it mixes well with other supplements, and it’s affordable and readily available. For anyone who wants or needs to manage their moods and maintain optimal cognitive function under stress, picamilon offers benefits that are hard to beat.

References   [ + ]

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

This page was last updated on November 21, 2018.