Summary

Pramiracetam is a synthetic derivative of piracetam, the first laboratory-created nootropic, but is significantly more potent.‍[1]

Discovered and developed by Parke-Davis in the 1970s, pramiracetam has been extensively studied as a potential treatment for cognitive problems and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease and brain injury‍[2] and as a treatment for a variety of central nervous system disorders.‍[3]

Pramiracetam has been clinically proven to improve memory in healthy elderly adults with memory loss‍[4] and enhance overall cognition in young adults with memory problems.‍[5]

Anecdotal evidence suggests that pramiracetam optimizes overall brain function and increases focus and productivity making it a popular choice among students and others who want to enhance their mental abilities.‍[6]‍[7]‍[8]

Pramiracetam has not been approved for any specific use by the USFDA and is unregulated in the US, where it can be legally purchased, possessed, and used. Pramiracetam may not be legally sold in Canada but can be legally imported into Canada for personal use. It is available by prescription Europe, where it is sold under the brand names Neupramir, Pramistar, and Remen for treatment of dyslexia, ADHD, dementia and memory problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Benefits and Effects

Pramiracetam is a true nootropic, created specifically to enhance cognition. Its benefits and effects include the following:

Improved Memory

Pramiracetam is a proven memory enhancer, extensively tested over several decades and shown effective in both animal studies‍[9]‍[10] and clinical trials of young adults with cognitive impairment due to brain injuries.‍[11]

Pramiracetam improves memory both by stimulating the hippocampus, the part of the brain primarily responsible for the creation of new memories and by acting as a potent anti amnesic that reduces forgetfulness.‍[12] This dual action makes pramiracetam a very effective memory booster, and many users also report significant improvement in speed of recall, a claim that has been corroborated by animal studies.‍[13]

Increased Alertness and Expanded Learning Capacity

Pramiracetam’s reputation as a general cognitive enhancer that increases alertness and expands learning capacity has made it a popular choice among students seeking a reliable study aid.

Though no human studies on these specific effects have been documented, animal studies indicate that pramiracetam contributes to the mechanisms underlying learning and memory improvement by increasing neuronal type nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in the hippocampus.‍[14] NOS activity is associated with neural development and brain plasticity, both of which are crucial to all aspects of cognition.

Pramiracetam is also known to increase high-affinity choline uptake in the hippocampus, thus indirectly fueling the production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter that is strongly associated with learning and cognition.‍[15]

Dementia Treatment

Open-label trials in patients with primary degenerative dementia show that Pramiracetam effectively reversed amnesia, significantly enhancing recall and reducing forgetfulness.‍[16]

In other studies, which measured the effects of pramiracetam and other racetam-class nootropics on patients with mild to moderate dementia, outcomes included observable cognitive benefits including cognitive gains and improved memory; it is believed that these outcomes are attributable at least in part to the nootropics’ potentiation of existing neurotransmitters.‍[17]

Though pramiracetam has not been approved as an Alzheimer’s treatment in the US, it typically prescribed in Europe for treatment of dementia and other cognitive issues related to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

Social Fluency

While there is no documented research on this aspect of pramiracetam, many users report that it makes them more conversationally creative and socially fluent. This may be attributable at least in part to pramiracetam’s reputed emotional blunting effect,‍[18] which is sometimes described as similar to that of Ritalin. This effect may reduce social anxiety and in turn enhance social fluency.

Neuroprotective Capabilities

Pramiracetam is known to have considerable neuroprotectant effects, capable of improving cognition in humans who have experienced brain trauma.‍[19]

Studies have also shown it to have a demonstrable neuroprotective effect when used during coronary bypass surgery, as well as in the treatment of cognitive disorders of cerebrovascular origin.‍[20]

How It Works

Like most nootropics, pramiracetam affects the release of neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that transmit signals from one nerve cell to another. But pramiracetam does it indirectly, in a manner somewhat different from the usual actions of racetam supplements, and it stimulates the brain in other ways as well.

Most racetams work by directly stimulating specific neurotransmitter receptor sites and thus increasing production and release of specific neurotransmitters,‍[21] but pramiracetam doesn’t directly result in changes in neurochemical levels, and it doesn’t appear to have an affinity for any major neurotransmitter. Its primary direct action is a significant increase in high-affinity choline uptake in the hippocampus.‍[22]

Choline is a precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter profoundly involved in all cognitive processes, including learning speed, memory, and concentration.

By stimulating choline uptake, pramiracetam indirectly modulates the release of acetylcholine and stimulates increased activity in the hippocampus. Because this part of the brain is essential to memory function, the general stimulation that pramiracetam creates can improve both the formation of new memories and the retention of reference or long-term memories. The increased activity in the hippocampus also increases cerebral blood flow, which enhances alertness and improves cognitive abilities in general.

Pramiracetam may have other mechanisms of action as well. Researchers have hypothesized that in addition to its effect on the brain, pramiracetam acts in peripheral sites outside the brain that rely on the adrenal glands.‍[23]

Animal studies suggest that pramiracetam may also increase or restore brain membrane fluidity, which facilitates cell signaling.‍[24]

Unlike many other racetam class nootropics, pramiracetam doesn’t appear to actively alter either wakefulness or emotional states. This can be explained by pramiracetam’s limited influence on the production and release of the neurotransmitters that have the greatest effect on mood and anxiety levels such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine.‍[25]

Pramiracetam is fat soluble rather than water soluble, which means it is absorbed into the bloodstream via fatty acids. It reaches peak concentrations and maximum bioavailability relatively quickly, generally within 30 minutes, and it has a moderately long half-life of 4.5-6.5 hours.‍[26]

Dosage

The existing human studies used a total daily intake of 1200 mg of adrafinil, divided into two or three doses per day.‍[27]‍[28]

They did not indicate that this dosage was optimal, but it was found to be both effective and well tolerated and may be a good reference point in determining personal dosage needs.

It is always wise to start with the lowest possible effective dose and adjust amounts as needed.

The fact that pramiracetam is fat rather than water soluble means that mixing the powder with water or any nonfat liquid is difficult; instead of dissolving, it will simply float on the surface. Some users report dissolving their dose of pramiracetam powder with a small amount of oil,‍[29] which may also enhance absorption and bioavailability.

Many individuals opt to take pramiracetam in capsule form due to its pungent flavor.

Stacking

Pramiracetam works well on its own, but one of its most interesting aspects is that it appears to be a powerful potentiator for other nootropics, increasing their effectiveness.

It is a particularly effective potentiator for other racetams, making it a natural addition to most nootropic stacks.

Adding a choline supplement to a pramiracetam stack could have multiple benefits. Not only can it enhance pramiracetam’s effects, but it can also prevent headaches, which are the most commonly reported side effect.

Because pramiracetam has such potent effects, it is advisable to use it on its own for a trial period before combining it with other nootropics.

Pramiracetam and Oxiracetam Stack

Stacking pramiracetam with an energy enhancer like adrafinil or oxiracetam can intensify the mental alertness and extend it over a longer period.

1x per day

Pramiracetam and Aniracetam Stack

Stacking pramiracetam with a powerful anti-anxiety agent like aniracetam can give users heightened focus and concentration while improving mood and reducing feelings of mental strain and anxiety. Some users say this stack promotes social fluency and improves their public performance ability.

1x per day

Side Effects

Pramiracetam is usually well tolerated even at high dosages, and very few adverse side effects have been documented.‍[30]

There are infrequent reports of minor and transitory side effects, including headache, gastrointestinal distress, and feelings of nervousness or agitation.‍[31]

In many cases, side effects are associated with high dosage and can be avoided by reducing amounts ingested.

Headache associated with choline depletion is a typical side effect of racetam type nootropics and may possibly be prevented by taking pramiracetam in conjunction with supplemental choline.

Pramiracetam is non-addictive, and no significant adverse effects of long-term use have been documented. In fact, there is evidence that this supplement may even promote brain health and to some extent restore function in aging brains.‍[32]

Where to Buy

It isn’t usually possible to find pramiracetam in retail stores, but it is available from specialty online stores that carry nootropics. It is important to order from reputable vendors.

We recommend PureNootropics.net for ordering pramiracetam and other nootropics. All their products are tested for purity by 3rd party laboratories.

Closing Thoughts

Pramiracetam is a unique and powerful nootropic that has been proven to enhance memory,‍[33] improve overall cognition,‍[34] and act as a neuroprotectant.‍[35]

Though Pramiracetam is prescribed as a dementia treatment in Europe, in the US and Canada it is most frequently used off-label as a study aid and general cognition booster.

The pros of pramiracetam include the fact that it’s safe and generally well tolerated, with few reported side effects; it’s powerful, fast acting, and relatively long-lasting, effective on its own and with other compounds in nootropic stacks. Users generally report that it helps them study efficiently and remember clearly, along with increasing alertness. Many users also say it enhances their sense of social fluency.

The cons of pramiracetam include the taste, which is particularly pungent, and the price, which tends to be higher than that of other racetam type nootropics. Though some users report that pramiracetam tends to blunt their emotions,‍[36] reactions to that effect are mixed; some people regard it as welcome objectivity and relief from social anxiety, while others say it makes them feel dissociated.

Overall, pramiracetam is widely accepted as a safe, effective nootropic. If you’re interested in improving your memory, learning speed, and general mental acuity, it may be worth considering.

References   [ + ]

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

This page was last updated on November 20, 2018.