Piracetam was first made between the 1950’s and 1964 by Corneliu E. Giurgea. The drug is currently marketed as a treatment for myoclonus, and a cognitive enhancer, although the evidence to support this is not clear. Studies for Piracetam vary from no benefit to modest benefits. Piracetam is sold as a medication in many European countries. In the United States it is sold as a dietary supplement.
Piracetam like many other nootropic drugs is in the racetams group. It is a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA.
Side Effects of Piracetam
Drugs have various side effects, and with Piracetam it is one of its good sides. It has been found to have very few side effects, typically ranged from “few, mild, and transient”. In a 12-week study with high-doses of Piracetam, the group experienced no adverse effects in comparison to the placebo group. This scenario has been observed in other studies as well.
In a study made in 2005, the side effects of Piracetam are: hyperkinesia, weight gain, nervousness, somnolence, depression and asthenia.
Additional Notes and Mechanisms of Action
Piracetam influences neuronal and vascular functions. It influences cognitive function without acting as a sedative or stimulant. Piracetam is a positive a allosteric modulator (in pharmacology and biochemistry, allosteric modulators are a group of substances that bind to a receptor to change that receptor’s response to stimulus) of the AMPA receptor (an ionotropic transmembrane receptor for glutamate that mediates fast synaptic transmission in the central nervous system), although this action is very weak and its clinical effects may not necessarily be mediated by this action. Piracetam is hypothesized to increase neuron excitability by acting on ion channels or ion carriers. GABA brain metabolism and GABA receptors are not effected by Piracetam.