Aniracetam (N-Anisoyl-2-Pyrrolidinone) is a nootropic drug, which means that it improves:
- Mental acuity
It is available by prescription in Europe and is sold in the US as a dietary supplement. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for use.
This article will look at how Aniracetam works, what research suggests its potential health benefits, side effects, dosages, and what to look for when purchasing it.
How nootropics work
Nootropics are often called "smart drugs" and some healthy people use them as brain stimulants. Most health experts point out that there is not enough support for this .
This category includes:
Nootropics that are closely related to aniracetam include:
What is Aniracetam used for?
Aniracetam has been around since the 1970s. It acts on a part of a brain cell (neuron) called the AMPA receptor. AMPA means alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid.
AMPA receptors help signals move quickly between neurons. By stimulating the receptors, Aniracetam can improve memory, concentration, and alertness.
Some manufacturers say that Aniracetam can treat:
However, these claims are not supported by research. To date, there is little clinical evidence that aniracetam can treat any medical condition.
Cognitive function and mood
Research on aniracetam for cognition and mood has produced mixed results.
On the positive side:
Researchers in a large study claimed that taking aniracetam for one year improves mood and cognitive function in older adults. They say it worked better and had fewer side effects than standard Alzheimer's drugs .
An analysis of studies from 2018 showed that aniracetam and similar drugs are effective for cognitive dysfunction in young people with vascular dementia .
A 2016 review found that aniracetam and similar medications show promise for depression .
On the downside:
Several studies have not shown any improvement in the mental health of mice and pigeons .
Animal studies are generally considered less valuable than human studies. However, when it comes to working memory, they tend to be better at monitoring and measuring.
Also, a large human study is often criticized for being low-quality and possibly biased, casting doubt on its findings.
Nootropics are advertised as "brain stimulants." While there are studies that provide some evidence that aniracetam can improve cognitive function and mood, overall there is not enough research to support its use for these purposes.
Possible side effects.
Little is known about the long-term safety of Aniracetam. Research shows that it is well tolerated for up to a year. Side effects are mild and include:
Aniracetam can interact with certain medications. In most cases, it enhances the effects of other drugs. Notable interactions include:
If you are taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about whether Aniracetam is safe. Do not start taking supplements or stop taking prescription drugs without your healthcare provider's approval.
The safety of this medicine in infancy, pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
Dosage and preparation
Aniracetam is often sold in 750-milligram (mg) capsules, in powder form, or as part of a multi-supplement supplement that stimulates the brain. Clinical studies have used up to 1500 mg per day with no noticeable side effects.
Never exceed the recommended dosage as stated on the supplement label. This can increase the risk of side effects, and higher doses often do not translate into greater benefits.
Before you start taking Aniracetam, talk to your doctor about any medical problems you have and whether Aniracetam might be a smart choice for you.
Attempts to heal yourself from a disease associated with memory or cognitive loss can delay proper diagnosis and treatment.
What to look for
In the US, Aniracetam is widely available online and in some supplement stores.
In general, avoid nutritional supplements with health claims that are generally not supported or exaggerated. Remember, supplements are not tested as rigorously as prescription drugs and such claims are not allowed.
Nootropic manufacturers have been criticized for misleading advertising. In 2019, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warnings about marketing fraud and false health claims .
Supplements vary by brand. Look for independent certifications of:
- United States Pharmacopeia (USP)
- NSF International
Certification means that a product contains the ingredients listed on the label and nothing else.
Aniracetam is a supposed brain stimulating product that is sold as a supplement in the United States. The evidence for its effectiveness is weak, despite its nearly 50-year history.
If you are taking Aniracetam, be aware of side effects and interactions with other medications you are taking. Be sure to involve your doctor in deciding whether you should take Aniracetam.
Get the word of drug information
Whether you want to improve cognitive performance due to illness or just get smarter, don't be fooled by false claims. Ask your doctor and pharmacist to help you find safe and effective treatments.