Phenylpiracetam: How It Works, Benefits, and Possible Side Effects

Phenylpiracetam: How It Works, Benefits, and Possible Side Effects

We rely on our cognitive skills in everything we do every day. Whatever you want to do, you need your brain to perform it, although that's not something we think about. Different factors can decrease our cognitive abilities and make it difficult for us to study, work, or do anything else. Our productivity and performance decrease significantly, and it's needless to mention overall brain health is at risk too. In order to boost their brain power, people use nootropics. There are different types of nootropics and phenylpiracetam is one of them. Keep reading to learn more about this drug.

Overview of Phenylpiracetam

Phenylpiracetam is a central nervous system stimulant and nootropic agent that belongs to the racetam family of drugs. The drug, whose brand names are Phenotropil, Carphedon, was created back in 1983 and its initial purpose was to allow cosmonauts from the Soviet Union to manage the prolonged stress of working in space. A psychopharmacologist Valentina Ivanovna Akhapina and a team of researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biomedical Problems were the first to create phenylpiracetam.

That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that phenylpiracetam is easily available in Russia. People can get it in drugstores without a prescription. Additionally, the drug may be prescribed for specific health conditions including age-related cognitive decline, neuroticism, and others. In the United States, phenylpiracetam has not been approved nor it is prescribed to treat some health problem, but one can get it in the form of a dietary supplement.

How Does Phenylpiracetam Work?

Phenylpiracetam is one of the first derivatives of piracetam to be synthesized and documented. Although it belongs to the group of the earliest piracetam derivatives, studies about phenylpiracetam are scarce, so it's difficult to determine the precise mechanism of action. As its derivative, phenylpiracetam has a similar structure as piracetam, but it has been phenylated. Basically, two compounds are the same, but a phenyl ring group is added to the original piracetam molecule on the position 5 of the pyrrolidone nucleus.

Despite the fact that precise mechanism of action is unknown, it is theorized that phenylpiracetam exhibits a direct affinity for nicotinic cholinergic receptors and it also has potential to increase the level of NMDA-glutamate receptors even though it is not directly linked to them. After ingestion, the drug is quickly absorbed in the digestive system from where it is distributed to other tissues and organs, but it also crosses the blood-brain barrier.

What are the Benefits of Phenylpiracetam?

Like other drugs from the racetam family, phenylpiracetam has various benefits that make it a highly sought after drug for brain power. However, as mentioned above, evidence on this subject is limited which is why it is important to carry out further studies in order to elucidate just how phenylpiracetam works and benefits it provides. Below, you can see the most important effects of this drug.

  • 1. Improves memory

  • Just like other nootropics, phenylpiracetam works to improve memory and make it sharper. A study from the Neurochemical Journal found that the drug increased the number of dopamine receptors in rats with memory loss. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in memory, motivation, attention, and reward. A growing body of evidence confirms that D1 dopamine receptors play a selective role in the mnemonic, predictive functions of the primate prefrontal cortex. This is exactly why the increased concentration of these receptors with phenylpiracetam use can improve memory.

  • 2. Prevents and Reduces Effects of Amnesia

  • Amnesia is defined as a deficit in memory caused by psychological trauma, disease, and brain damage. A person affected by amnesia can lose their memories wholly or partially depending on the extent of damage that was caused. Phenylpiracetam has the ability to prevent and reduce the effects of amnesia, but more studies are needed on this subject. One explanation is that the drug binds to and increases the number of nicotinic acetylcholine and NMDA receptors in the brain both of which are vital for memory formation and learning. In addition, phenylpiracetam increases the levels of BDNF, a protein that participates in the survival of brain cells, located in the hippocampus.

  • 3. Reduces Anxiety

  • Anxiety affects millions of people at one point or another. People can develop different types of anxiety due to various reasons, but one thing is for sure – this mental health or emotional problem has a negative impact on your quality of life. Intake of phenylpiracetam has the potential to decrease anxiety while improving exploratory behavior in an unfamiliar environment. Evidence showed that phenylpiracetam reduced both anxiety and depression in mice and rats with drug-induced psychosis. The drug also has the potential to lower anxiety and depression in persons with brain damage.  Calming effects of phenylpiracetam may be due to its ability to increase the number of GABA receptors, the same receptors to which anti-anxiety documents bind to in order to work.

  • 4. Reduces the Effects of Sleep Deprivation

  • If you are a sleep-deprived individual then you can, definitely, benefit from the phenylpiracetam. Sleep deprivation has a major impact on your mind and body. Regular intake of phenylpiracetam for one month can reduce brain fatigue. This is important mainly because people who are self-deprived tend to be tired and experience a dramatic decline in their cognitive functions.

  • 5. Enhances Athletic Performance (Increases Stamina)

  • If you've ever wanted to boost your athletic performance now, you have a great reason to do so. Phenylpiracetam improves your health in more ways than one, as mentioned above, but its benefits don't stop there – the drug also allows you to improve athletic performance. For example, one study found that intake of phenylpiracetam was able to increase the speed and distance traveled in rats during the open-field test. Not only does it support your sleep quality, but phenylpiracetam also works to improve overall brain function which is important for your energy levels.

    Suggested Dosages

    Taking the right dosage is crucial if you want to get the maximum out of this drug. Manufacturers are obliged to provide dosage information on the packaging so make sure you follow those instructions religiously rather than increasing or decreasing it on your own. Dosages of phenylpiracetam can range from 50mg to 600mg a day. While it is possible to take a single dosage, it’s more practical to take the drug several times a day.

    The most commonly taken dosage is 100mg to 200mg taken two to three times on a daily basis. Due to the fact that phenylpiracetam is more potent than piracetam, the best thing to do is to start with lower dosages first or consult a healthcare provider before you start taking the drug. It is relatively easy to become tolerant of the drug which explains why most users start with 50mg dosage and increase it gradually. It’s important to mention that the most effective or optimal dose is unknown at this point.

    Possible Side Effects

    Side effects of phenylpiracetam can occur, but they tend to be mild and temporary. The drug itself is well-tolerated, and the risk of experiencing adverse reactions is very low. The most common side effects that are associated with the use of this drug include:

    • Anxiety
    • A headache
    • Nausea
    • Over-stimulation
    • Insomnia
    • Increased blood pressure
    • Fatigue
    • Changes in mood

    In order to reduce the risk of side effects, you need to use phenylpiracetam responsibly. Avoid taking excessive dosages or altering them on your own without consulting a healthcare provider.


    Phenylpiracetam is yet another derivative of piracetam meaning it is significantly stronger and provides its effects faster. That’s why it’s important to be careful with the dosage. Benefits of this drug are numerous which calls for further research on the subject. We need more studies to learn as much as we can about the drug and its mechanism of action. Current evidence is promising.


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