Aniracetam: Review on Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
What is Aniracetam: Sold by the brand names Ampamet, Memodrin, Referan, and Draganon, Aniracetam is a nootropic smart drug from the racetam class, first synthesized in the 70’s.
It’s called “the big brother of Piracetam”, and this is because Piracetam was the first racetam compound to be synthesized, and it has the same pyrrolidone structure as aniracetam and all the other racetams…
…What makes Aniracetam different is that it’s fat-soluble (which makes it go through the blood-brain barrier more easily than the water-soluble Piracetam), it reaches the blood-stream a lot quicker, and it’s considered more potent. On the flip side, it also has a shorter half-life and needs to be taken more often if one is looking for continuous effect.
Aniracetam (N-anisoyl-2-pyrrolidinone) is purely synthetic and doesn’t occur naturally in any foods or plants.
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How Does Aniracetam Work
Just like in the case of Piracetam, the exact mechanism behind the nootropic benefits of Aniracetam isn’t fully understood.
That doesn’t mean we don’t know anything though. This substance has been researched for over 40 years now and plenty of interesting findings have emerged.
What we know is that Aniracetam is able to stimulate two types of glutamate receptors in the brain (AMPA and kainate-receptors), resulting in stimulatory effect in the brain, as the glutamate receptors tend to be excitory.
This receptor stimulation causes increased noradrenaline release from within the hippocampal neurons, which increases transmission and activity of the stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.
Aniracetam also inhibits GABA-a receptors, reducing sedative effects in the brain and further promoting the stimulatory effects.
Then there’s the cholinergic benefits, as Aniracetam can improve the signalling of acetylcholine receptors of the brain. Enhanced activity of these receptors has been linked to improved memory, attention, learning, and reasoning.
Although Aniracetam shares similar base-structure as Piracetam, it appears to be more stimulatory and should really amp your brain activity up pretty effectively.
Aniracetam Benefits and Research
So now that we know all about the Aniracetam effects and function in the brain, let’s take a look at the research behind its actual benefits.
First and foremost, like many nootropics, Aniracetam is considered to be “neuroprotective”. As it has been found to alleviate the cognitive damage caused by electric shocks, brain strokes, and drug usage.
In research animals, Aniracetam and its metabolites are known to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, even though the compound is considered stimulatory instead of sedative. This effect has been seen in multiple human anecdotes as well.
Many kinds of racetam and ampakine compounds that stimulate the AMPA-receptors (including Aniracetam), increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which increases the plasticity of the brain and promotes learning, memory formation, and synaptic signaling.
Perhaps the most interesting benefit of Aniracetam was seen in a human study, where the compound was able to improve overall cognitive test scores by up to 30% when compared to placebo.
In rodent studies, Aniracetam continously promotes cognitive abilities, and in one human-trial lasting 6-months, Aniracetam was found to significantly improve brain-test scores when compared to placebo during the study period (it was also noted to be more potent than Piracetam).
Aniracetam has good amount of research supporting its claimed benefits as a nootropic cognitive enhancer. Its mechanism has been shown in isolated cells and brain slices, and its benefits for overall cognitive enhancement have been proven in various animal and human trials.
Aniracetam Dosage and How to Take
The standard recommended daily Aniracetam dosage hovers between 1000-2000mg’s. This has also been found effective in the clinical studies mentioned above.
Aniracetam is considered 2-5x more potent than Piracetam, but it also has a short half-life (only about 1-3 hours), because of this, it’s recommended to take Aniracetam in multiple doses thorough the time you need cognitive enhancement.
In their 1991 book “Smart Drugs and Nutrients“, Dr. Dean and Dr. Morgenthaler recommend using an Aniracetam attack dose when taking it first time to over-stimulate the neurons for better synaptic activity.
This may be a viable option for racetam class of nootropics, since they can take some time to work in the body and are considered very safe even at high dosages, just don’t think that it’s the way to go for all smart drugs.
Generally this mega-dose of Aniracetam recommended would be 2-5x of the normal dosage recommendation seen above. However, as the studies have shown, Aniracetam works very well with lower dosages too, so this may be up to experimentation and individual preferences.
Aniracetam is fat-soluble, and thus should always be taken with a meal or at least with some source of fat for optimal absorption.
Since Aniracetam increases the usage of acetylcholine in the brain, one should always supplement with a high-quality choline source and eat foods rich in choline when taking it to provide raw material for acetylcholine synthesis, enhancing the benefits and minimizing the possible side-effects.
My personal Aniracetam experience has been very positive. I tend to rotate different types of racetams and when its Aniracetam day, I use 500-750mg doses of the compound 2-3x per day in stack with some Alpha-CPG, Noopept, plenty of coffee, and Modafinil.
Due to its short half-life and fat-solublity, Aniracetam should be taken in multiple daily doses with a source of dietary fat and choline. Recommended total dosage falls between 1000-2000mg/day, although some recommend and use a bit higher “attack dose”.
Aniracetam Side Effects and Tolerance
The racetam class of nootropics is considered generally very safe.
This extends to Aniracetam too, which although being made synthetically for medicine purposes, doesn’t poses any known major side effects according to scientific studies spanning from weeks to over 6-months in duration.
The scientific toxicology review of Aniracetam shows that the smart drug is extremely well tolerated by all research animals (rabbits, dogs, rats, mice) even in high dosages. Life-long treatment with the compound has also been shown no harm to the reproductive system or hormones, nor does it show any signs of mutagenicity or carcinogenicity.
Even at stupidly high dosage of 10g/kg, racetam compounds have been proven to show no signs of acute toxicity in rodents, dogs, and marmosets.
Anecdotal reports from various forums and blogs frequently visited by nootropic users, show that very rarely some people experience slight headaches or brain fog with Aniracetam usage. This is a common side effect with acetylcholine upregulating nootropics and is often explained by lack of choline in the diet or poor hydration.
Since Aniracetam is stimulatory, it’s obviously suggested not to take close to bed time due to possible interference with sleep and sedation.
When taken at recommended dosages, Aniracetam is not known to build up tolerance or cause addiction towards the substance. Still, many nootropic enthusiast (and me personally as well) believe that occasional rotation, cycling, and breaks of taking the nootropic compounds would not be a bad idea.
Aniracetam is virtually side effect free, with only rare anecdotal negative effects like headache and problems with sleep. It shows no toxicity towards research animals and is considered very safe for human consumption within recommended dosages.
NOTE: Want to learn more about nootropics? Check out Chris Walker’s Smart Drug Crash Course.