Oxiracetam: Review on Dosage, Benefits, & Side Effects
By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD
What is Oxiracetam: Sold by the brand names Neuracetam and Neuromed, Oxiracetam was one of the three first racetams nootropics to be synthesized (the first one being Piracetam, followed quickly by Aniracetam and then Oxiracetam).
Oxiracetam is structurally almost identical with Piracetam, with the only exception that it has an added hydroxyl group in its basic pyridionine structure, which is touted to make it more bio-available and potent.
Although Oxiracetam peaks in the blood rapidly and is readily absorbed, it still remains in circulation for quite some time, which is why many like to take only one dose of Oxiracetam per day (unlike many other racetams which tend to have very short half-life).
Oxiracetam (4-hydroxy-2-oxo-pyrrolidinoacetamide) is purely synthetic and doesn’t occur naturally in any plants or foods.
Table of Contents
How Does Oxiracetam Work
Oxiracetam excerts its effects in similar fashion as the other nootropics from the racetam class, but it has some distinct characteristics that make it unique.
Oxiracetam has been noted to significantly increase the signalling efficacy of the brain area called hippocampus, which plays a crucial role in memory formation and processing.
Similarly to Aniracetam, Oxiracetam is able to stimulate the AMPA-receptors of the brain, which in theory should lead to improved learning and working-memory, as those seem to be the main actions that the AMPA-receptors regulate in the brain.
Without actually increasing the levels of the brain neurotransmitter; acetylcholine, Oxiracetam still stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter from neurons in hippocampus, resulting in increased cholinergic activity (which is commonly linked with improved memory formation, heightened attention, learning ability, and reasoning).
Oxiracetam is slightly stimulatory and may enhance the ATP (energy) formation in the brain, although this has only been proven on isolated brain cells.
Lastly, Oxiracetam seems to increase the levels of an enzyme called protein kinase C (PKC), which is associated with memory formation.
Although similar to other racetams in the way it stimulates the excitory neurotransmitters and their receptor sites, Oxiracetam also has unique effects in enhancing hippocampal activity and enzyme functioning.
Oxiracetam Benefits and Research
The effects and benefits of Oxiracetam are multitude.
In rodents, administratiation of Oxiracetam is able to improve performance in various maze-tests when compared to placebo.
It has been shown that single-day acute administration doesn’t instantly improve learning or memory, but after roughly 16-24 hours of the “learning event” Oxiracetam starts to show improvements in memory formation and the results are still measurable even 4-months after the supplementation of the compound has been stopped.
This makes sense as one of its known functions is to potentiate the signalling efficacy of the hippocampus (area which stores the long-term memory trace), and racetams in general tend to take some time before enough of the active compounds build up in neurons.
Oxiracetam – like many other nootropics – has a neuroprotective effect. It’s been found to protect the brain against drugs that cause amnesia, such as: NDMA-receptor blockers and aCH-receptor blockers.
Research on subjects with dementia also shows the neuroprotective effect. When test-subjects with clinically proven cognitive decline, 400-1200mg/day of Oxiracetam is able to improve cognitive test scores in a dose-dependent manner.
Further research on the elderly with dementia has shown that Oxiracetam can;
- Significantly enhance verbal fluency.
- Prevent the cognitive decline (more effectively than Piracetam).
- And improve scores on all the measured brain-tests and rating scales.
- Sadly it doesn’t seem to have significant benefits for Alzheimer’s disease.
Like other racetams, Oxiracetam is neuroprotective and excerts its most noticeable benefits on improving various markers of memory and learning. Seems to have a lasting positive impact on memory formation, which is pretty awesome.
Oxiracetam Dosage and How to Take
Recommended standard daily Oxiracetam dosage range falls between 1200-2400mg, in either one dose or spread out to 2-3 times thorough the day.
This amount is – as to be expected – found to work well in clinical research and anecdotally people do fine within that range.
Oxiracetam has a half-life of up to 8 hours and the beneficial effects on memory seem to build up over days. Still it’s reportedly best to be taken 1-3 hours before any learning activity as that is what it takes for the compound to reach peak blood levels.
In a fairly old book about nootropics, the authors Dr. Dean and Dr. Morgenthaler, make few remarks of possibly using an “attack dose” when taking racetam class of smart drugs.
This attack dose (usually 2-5x higher than the normal dosage) would be used when taking Oxiracetam first time to “over-stimulate the neurons and enhance the resulting synaptic activity and build up of the active compounds in neural tissue”.
This may be a stupid idea when talking about more powerful prescription-only psychostimulatory smart drugs, but in the case of racetams – which are known to take some time before becoming beneficial and possess very low risk of side effects – it may actually be a good idea to experiment with larger dosages in the beginning…
…Just remember that the normal dosage range has been found to work well in clinical trials, and one certainly doesn’t have to use the attack dose method to see the benefits.
Oxiracetam is water-soluble and thus theoretically can be taken without a meal, although no clear research on this exists.
As Oxiracetam works on the cholinergic system, it may increase the demand of choline in the body, and as with most racetams, you should consume a high-quality choline supplement or plenty of egg yolks when taking these type of nootropics.
My personal Oxiracetam experience has been pretty good. It isn’t quite as stimulatory as Aniracetam is, but definitely feels more powerful than Piracetam. Rotating racetams with Modafinil, Noopept, good coffee, varying choline sources and certain nootropic herbs is my way to roll and it keeps my work grind effortless.
Due to its long half-life and water-solublity, Oxiracetam can be taken just once per day and it should absorb well without any food. It’s best to use choline alongside Oxiracetam and stay close to the dosage range of 1200-4000mg per day.
Oxiracetam Side Effects and Tolerance
Generally speaking, the racetam class of nootropics is considered extremely safe.
Several types of research-animals have been fed with a massive dose of 10g/kg racetams, and the compounds still fail to show any acute signs of toxicity.
The side effects of Oxiracetam are anecdotally reported to be slight headaches, nausea, and sleep disturbances, but the scientific research published on the nootropic doesn’t show any known side effects when compared to placebo.
It’s likely that for most people who notice side effects, co-supplementation with choline, drinking plenty of water, and not taking Oxiracetam close to bed-time would abolish most of the negative effects.
Oxiracetam has no known addictive effects and appears to not have tolerance build up at recommended dosages.
Oxiracetam is virtually side effect free in the eyes of science, with only anecdotal reports of minor things like headaches, sleep disturbances, and nausea. Being less toxic than table-salt, Oxiracetam – even though synthetic – is considered extremely safe.
NOTE: To learn more about nootropics, check out the Smart Drug Crash Course.