Those who spend any amount of time looking into nootropics will be very familiar with the racetam class of nootropics, a group of drugs that are structural derivatives of piracetam. These drugs display variance in the details of their effects, but they all exhibit neuroprotectant and cognitive-enhancing properties.
One of these piracetam derivatives, phenylpiracetam, is appealing to many nootropic users due to its many purported benefits.
Background and Benefits
- Memory enhancement
If phenylpiracetam does indeed have these listed properties, its appeal extends beyond just the sphere of nootropics. Any drug with that kind of resume is certainly impressive. Here we will examine this unique substance and its purported effects.
Phenylpiracetam, also known by its Russian pharmaceutical names Phenotropil and Carphedon, was developed in Russia in the 1980s as a piracetam derivative, with the hopes that it would display and expand upon the nootropic properties that make piracetam such a popular drug. Specifically, phenylpiracetam is a phenylated analog of piracetam, meaning that it is essentially a piracetam molecule with a phenyl group attached. Interestingly, some have theorized that phenylpiracetam’s purported stimulant effects may be due to the molecule’s similarity to phenethylamine (and, by extension, amphetamine).
These potential stimulant properties, along with phenylpiracetam’s ability to improve physical stamina, has led to the drug being banned from use in Olympic competitions.
Dosage, Mechanism, and Effects
Phenylpiracetam is typically sold by online vendors in its pure powder form or as pharmaceutical tablets. Most of these sources sell a racemic mixture of the molecule, but some of the studies done on the effects of phenylpiracetam were conducted using only the R-isomer.
A single dose of phenylpiracetam typically ranges from 100–200 mg. Most prescription guidelines state that phenylpiracetam can be taken 2-3 times per day, as the drug will exert effects on the body for about 4-6 hours before receding. It should be noted that most anecdotal reports from users indicate that phenylpiracetam builds up a tolerance rather quickly, so it might not be wise to use it for days in a row. That being said, the drug appears to be relatively safe to use regardless of tolerance buildup.
Phenylpiracetam’s mechanism of action still remains largely uncertain. While various studies have been conducted on its effects, few have dealt with the specifics of its pharmacology. However, one study performed on rats found that phenylpiracetam decreased the density of nACh and NMDA receptors in the hippocampus when they had previously been given scopolamine, an anticholinergic drug.
Phenylpiracetam was also found to increase the density of the D1, D2, and D3 dopamine receptors. Dopamine receptors are important for motivation, arousal, pleasure, and memory.
It also appears that phenylpiracetam’s enantiomers have unique effects and properties. Most notably, studies indicate that the R-enantiomer is mostly responsible for its stimulating and cognition-enhancing effects while the S-enantiomer may be more responsible for stopping cognitive decline.
One of the drug’s biggest potential uses is for treating cognitive decline brought on by diseases like Alzheimer’s. Various studies have been conducted in Russia studying the effect of phenylpiracetam on cognitive decline caused by organic causes. These studies found that phenylpiracetam improved the cognition of those with Alzheimer’s disease, and showed minor effectiveness in improving the cognition of patients afflicted with epilepsy. The drug did not, however, appear to improve cognition for those whose cognitive decline was brought on by traumatic brain injury. In a study conducted on 400 patients with ischemic stroke, phenylpiracetam was able to improve cognition when taken at a dose of 400 mg per day for one year.
There is currently no research conducted on phenylpiracetam’s effect on cognition in young, healthy subjects, although anecdotal reports throughout the internet suggest that it does improve cognition among those with no cognitive disorders. One study conducted on rats found that the R-enantiomer of phenylpiracetam was able to enhance cognition, but this result has not been replicated in any study using the racemic mixture.
Zhiliuk, Mamchur & Pavlov found that Phenylpiracetam improves the processes of learning and storing conditional skills when studying cognitive processes and functional state of mitochondria in the neocortex of alloxan-diabetic rats.
Gustov, Smirnov, Korshunova IuA and Andrianova argue that Phenylpiracetam is beneficial to people who develop cognitive deficits and/or depression after encephalopathy and brain injuries. It increased quality of life in patients with encephalopathy after acute lesions (30 people), brain traumas (33 people) and glioma surgery (36 people). The average Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores (a 30-point questionnaire) from baseline improved in all groups. Anxiety improved and depression declined substantially, resulting in less discomfort and better ability to execute everyday activities.
Some preliminary studies have found phenylpiracetam to have antidepressant properties. However, this area of effect has not seen as much research as the area of cognitive enhancement. A study performed on rats found that when phenylpiracetam was administered to rats, it significantly reduced depression symptoms caused by a forced-swim test. A study conducted on human patients with cognitive decline concluded that phenylpiracetam is able to alleviate symptoms of depression.
Perhaps one of the most unique and attractive benefits of phenylpiracetam is its ability to act as a psychostimulant. However, this effect is not very well researched, although one experiment conducted on rats found that phenylpiracetam increases locomotor activity for upwards of 2 hours.
As with any nootropic drug that has not seen as much clinical research as one might hope, it is useful to look at anecdotal reports from users to give a fuller picture of the drug’s effects. Obviously, individual user reports are especially prone to the placebo effect and should be weighed and judged by the reader with caution.
Reddit user The_Antagonist said –
At the peak of it’s effects (about an hour in) I feel intense focus, not especially jittery, unless stacked with something else, just pure attention, and a complete abolishment of any lethargy I would have been feeling previously. It’s not really a euphoric compound, but I’ve noticed it seems to make me significantly happier when I’m accomplishing something on it. It might be the racetam effects rearing their head, but solving mathematical problems, or gaining a more complete understanding of a concept just feels plain good. This attribute [in particular], for me at least, makes it a hell of a study drug.
Reddit user Notlambda –
I’m not a social butterfly. I’m retarded when it comes to explaining a concept or defending an argument.
On phenylpiracetam (or daily doses of piracetam), I’m a social genius. What it feels like is that I’m not the one saying the words that I’m saying. It’s like I feed a “command” into a register in my brain that is then picked up by whatever part of my cortex deals with speech, and then I find myself just saying the perfect words to explain everything concisely.
It’s like I’m watching somebody else be awesome, but that somebody else is me. It’s really nice because I can free the rest of my mind to think about concepts while the “other” me is doing all the talking.
It’s also very subtle. I’m explaining this like it’s a dissociative experience or something like that. It’s not.
From user le_unknown –
I’ve had great results with phenylpiracetam. Without a doubt, it has been the nootropic that works best for me. Gives me alertness (but no jitteriness, I just feel awake and normal – kills all drowsiness), focus, and a tiny mood elevation. I’m surprised I don’t see more people talking about it…
Phenylpiracetam’s seemingly wide array of effects and benefits makes it well worth looking into. Most notably, phenylpiracetam seems to provide many of the benefits of piracetam, while seemingly being more potent or effective in certain areas. Phenylpiracetam seems to noticeably provide cognitive capacity improvement, mood elevation, and stimulation. Experiences will vary widely among individual users, so we would highly recommend you try phenylpiracetam for yourself to see how it works for you.
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