Phenylpiracetam: Unlocking Cognitive Enhancement and Brain Health

Phenylpiracetam is a popular nootropic substance derived from piracetam, designed to improve cognition, memory, and mental state. Developed in Russia in the early 1980s, this potent cognitive enhancer has gained attention worldwide due to its various potential benefits on brain function and physical performance. As an optical isomer of phenotropil, phenylpiracetam offers neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an attractive choice for individuals seeking enhanced mental clarity and focus.

This synthetic compound operates by interacting with neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and glutamate. By modulating these key neurotransmitters, phenylpiracetam has the ability to improve cognitive function, memory, and learning, while also offering potential mood-enhancing qualities. Furthermore, phenylpiracetam has been linked to improved physical endurance and energy levels, allowing users to maintain peak mental performance during challenging tasks or situations.

Key Takeaways

  • Phenylpiracetam is a powerful nootropic that improves cognition, memory, and mental state
  • The compound interacts with key neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate to enhance brain function
  • In addition to cognitive benefits, phenylpiracetam may boost physical endurance and energy levels

Phenylpiracetam Overview

Racetam Family

Phenylpiracetam is a member of the racetam family, a group of synthetic compounds known for their cognitive-enhancing properties. It is a modified version of piracetam, the original racetam, with an additional phenyl group attached to its structure. This modification is responsible for its increased potency, making phenylpiracetam about 30 to 60 times more potent than piracetam. As with all racetams, phenylpiracetam shares a common pyrrolidone nucleus in its chemical structure, which is believed to contribute to its nootropic effects.


Nootropics are a class of substances known to enhance cognitive functions, such as memory, creativity, and motivation. Phenylpiracetam is considered a nootropic due to its ability to improve various aspects of cognition when compared to a placebo. Research on phenylpiracetam has shown that it can:

In addition to its nootropic effects, phenylpiracetam is believed to have neuroprotective properties that could help preserve brain function and protect against cognitive decline. Some studies have suggested that phenylpiracetam may also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects, which can further contribute to its neuroprotective benefits.

While phenylpiracetam is typically well-tolerated, it’s essential to start with lower doses and gradually increase the dosage as necessary. As with any nootropic or supplement, individual responses may vary, and it’s advised to consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new cognitive-enhancing regimen.

Mechanisms of Action


Phenylpiracetam is known to interact with several neurotransmitters in the brain. One of the key neurotransmitters it affects is dopamine. Phenylpiracetam acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, meaning it increases the availability of dopamine in the brain. This is believed to contribute to its cognitive-enhancing effects and potential mood-boosting properties.

Another neurotransmitter influenced by phenylpiracetam is acetylcholine. This compound is vital for memory formation and learning processes. Although there is limited direct evidence, phenylpiracetam is thought to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain indirectly, leading to improved cognitive function.

Phenylpiracetam may also interact with GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, although the exact mechanisms are not yet well understood. It has been suggested that phenylpiracetam may enhance GABAergic transmission, which could contribute to the compound’s anxiolytic effects and potentially its anticonvulsant properties.

Blood-Brain Barrier

One of the key advantages of phenylpiracetam over other racetams, such as piracetam, is its ability to effectively cross the blood-brain barrier. The added phenyl group to the piracetam molecule not only makes phenylpiracetam about 30 times more potent than its predecessor but also enhances its bioavailability and penetration through the blood-brain barrier. This increased permeability ensures that phenylpiracetam can exert its effects on neurotransmitter systems more effectively, resulting in a more pronounced impact on cognitive function and potential mood enhancement.

Cognitive Effects

Memory Enhancement

Phenylpiracetam has been shown to have positive effects on memory. It has been demonstrated to ameliorate deficits resulting from disease and trauma as well as improve cognition in healthy individuals. The compound’s ability to enhance memory is largely thought to be due to its influence on various neurotransmitter systems, including acetylcholine and glutamate.

Focus and Attention

Another cognitive benefit of phenylpiracetam is its potential to improve focus and attention. According to a study, phenylpiracetam has been found to have a positive impact on cognitive processes. Its effects on focus and attention can be attributed to the drug’s ability to modulate dopamine and norepinephrine levels, crucial neurotransmitters for attention regulation.


Phenylpiracetam may also have an impact on learning capabilities. Its memory-enhancing properties can naturally support learning processes, while increasing mental energy and overall cognitive function. Additionally, phenylpiracetam’s positive effects on brain function are associated with its ability to improve synaptic plasticity, which plays a crucial role in learning and information retention.

Cognitive Decline

This compound has also been investigated for its potential to mitigate cognitive decline associated with various neurological conditions and aging. Research has shown that phenylpiracetam and other similar drugs may have additive beneficial effects on cognitive disabilities, potentially helping to slow down or alleviate the effects of cognitive decline in certain individuals.

Mood and Emotional Effects

Phenylpiracetam is a nootropic known to help boost cognitive performance. Beyond its cognitive enhancement potential, it has also been observed to affect mood and emotions in different ways.

Anxiety and Depression

Although there isn’t extensive research available on the direct effects of Phenylpiracetam on anxiety and depression, it has been suggested that it may help improve mood regulation due to its ability to modulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain. This, in turn, could potentially lead to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to confirm these potential benefits and understand the exact mechanisms involved.


Some users of Phenylpiracetam have reported an increase in motivation while using this nootropic. It’s speculated that the enhanced cognitive functions offered by Phenylpiracetam, such as improved focus and mental energy, could contribute to increased motivation levels. This may be especially beneficial for those looking to enhance their productivity during mentally demanding tasks or study sessions.

In summary, Phenylpiracetam may offer improvements in mood regulation, anxiety, depression, and motivation levels. However, further research into these potential benefits is needed to fully understand the underlying mechanisms and corroborate the anecdotal reports.

Physical Effects

Physical Performance

Phenylpiracetam is known to have a positive impact on physical performance. It is an optical isomer of phenotropil, a clinically-used nootropic drug that improves physical performance (source). It has been reported to enhance physical endurance and resistance to cold, making it a popular choice among athletes and individuals involved in physically demanding activities.


One of the key benefits of phenylpiracetam is its ability to reduce fatigue. Studies have shown that phenylpiracetam can effectively improve both mental and physical performance during periods of increased stress or exhaustion. This property makes it an ideal supplement for individuals who want to maintain their cognitive and physical abilities during demanding situations or prolonged periods of exertion.

Locomotor Activity

Contrary to popular belief, phenylpiracetam does not have a significant impact on locomotor activity. In a study examining the effects of the S-phenylpiracetam isomer on body weight gain, it was found that the treatment did not influence locomotor activity in the tested subjects (source). This means that the stimulatory effects of phenylpiracetam are more focused on cognitive functions and physical performance rather than increasing general locomotor activity.

In summary, phenylpiracetam has a notable effect on physical performance and fatigue resistance, while its impact on locomotor activity remains limited. This makes it a valuable supplement for those seeking to enhance their physical capabilities without experiencing unwanted stimulation in their daily activities.

Clinical Applications


Phenylpiracetam has been studied for its potential use in treating epilepsy. Evidence suggests that it may help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in patients with different types of epilepsy. Phenylpiracetam’s mechanism of action in epilepsy is not yet fully understood, but it may involve modulation of neurotransmitter systems, including glutamate and GABAergic signaling1. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and determine the optimal dosage and treatment duration.


In stroke patients, phenylpiracetam has demonstrated potential benefits in improving cognitive function and facilitating recovery. Studies have shown that it can help enhance neuroplasticity, cerebral blood flow, and energy metabolism in the brain2. These effects may contribute to better functional outcomes and improved quality of life for individuals recovering from a stroke. It should be noted that more clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to establish the optimal treatment regimen and evaluate the long-term effects of phenylpiracetam in this population.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Phenylpiracetam has also shown promise in treating cognitive and emotional impairments resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI). Preliminary studies suggest that it may help improve attention, memory, and emotional regulation in TBI patients3. The exact mechanisms behind these effects are still under investigation, but they may involve the modulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other neuroprotective agents. Further research is required to establish the best dosing strategy and evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of phenylpiracetam in TBI patients.

Parkinson’s Disease

There is limited evidence regarding the use of phenylpiracetam in treating Parkinson’s disease. Some studies have indicated potential neuroprotective effects and enhanced dopamine transmission4, which may benefit patients with this neurodegenerative disorder. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand the therapeutic potential of phenylpiracetam in Parkinson’s disease patients.

Side Effects and Safety

Common Side Effects

Phenylpiracetam is generally considered safe when taken within the recommended dosage. However, some common side effects may occur, including:

  • Irritability: Some users may experience feelings of irritability and aggression while taking Phenylpiracetam. This may be alleviated by reducing the dosage or discontinuing use.
  • Insomnia: A very common side effect of phenylpiracetam is insomnia, which may disrupt sleep patterns. To avoid this, it is recommended to take the nootropic earlier in the day or adjust the dosage.
  • Headaches: As with other nootropics, headaches are a possibility. Ensuring adequate hydration and taking choline supplements may help.

Please note that side effects may vary depending on the individual, dosage, and frequency of use.


Research on the potential toxicity of phenylpiracetam is limited, but no significant issues have been reported so far. However, it is essential to exercise caution when taking any supplement or drug. To ensure safety, users should adhere to the recommended dosage and consider the following precautions:

  • Seizures: While phenylpiracetam has shown potential in reducing the frequency of seizures in some studies, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before using it as a treatment for seizure disorders.
  • Heart Rate: Users with pre-existing heart conditions or concerns should consult their healthcare provider before taking Phenylpiracetam. While no specific reports indicate a direct link to increased heart rate, it is always best to err on the side of caution.
  • Pregnancy and Lactation: The safety of phenylpiracetam during pregnancy and lactation is unknown. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using this nootropic during these critical periods.

Dosage and Administration

Recommended Dosage Range

Phenylpiracetam’s recommended daily dosage typically lies between 100 mg and 200 mg. It is advisable to start with a lower dose, such as 100 mg, and gradually increase the dosage, depending on the individual’s response and needs. Phenylpiracetam can be taken in a single dose or divided into two equal doses throughout the day. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, including phenylpiracetam.


Phenylpiracetam has a relatively short half-life of approximately 3 to 5 hours. This means that the drug’s effects are relatively short-lived, and it will be eliminated from the body within a few hours after administration. This short half-life may necessitate more frequent dosing for those seeking sustained cognitive benefits. However, due to the potential for side effects and the possibility of developing tolerance, it is recommended to use phenylpiracetam in a cyclical manner, such as using it for a few days followed by a break to avoid habituation and maintain its effectiveness over time.

Legal Status and Regulations

United States

In the United States, Phenylpiracetam is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription drug or controlled substance. As a result, it is legal to buy, possess, and use for personal use without a prescription. However, it is essential to mention that Phenylpiracetam is not FDA-approved, and its long-term effects are not fully understood.


In Canada, Phenylpiracetam falls under the category of unregulated substances. This means that it is neither controlled nor available by prescription. Like the United States, Canadians can legally buy and possess Phenylpiracetam for personal use. However, caution should be taken, as its long-term effects haven’t been extensively researched.


Phenylpiracetam has a different legal status in Russia compared to the United States and Canada. Developed in Russia, Phenylpiracetam is a prescription medication used to treat various cognitive and neurological disorders. As a result, one needs a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner to legally buy, possess, and use Phenylpiracetam in Russia.

World Anti-Doping Agency

Phenylpiracetam is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances in sports. Athletes who compete under WADA’s jurisdiction are prohibited from using Phenylpiracetam, as it has been found to potentially enhance cognitive performance and physical endurance. The use of Phenylpiracetam by athletes can lead to disciplinary measures, including disqualification and bans from competitions.

History and Development

Russian Academy of Sciences

Phenylpiracetam, also known as phenotropil, was first synthesized in the early 1980s by a team of researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was developed as a modification of the popular nootropic drug piracetam, with the addition of a phenyl group, which enhances its bioavailability and potency1. The primary goal behind the development of phenylpiracetam was to create a more potent cognitive enhancer and performance booster.

Soviet Cosmonauts

Phenylpiracetam gained prominence in the 1980s when it was discovered to be a highly effective performance-enhancing agent for Soviet cosmonauts2. The drug was specifically designed to help improve their physical, mental, and cognitive abilities during space missions. Phenylpiracetam provided cosmonauts with a range of benefits, such as increased focus, motivation, and stress resistance, which were critical for maintaining peak performance in the demanding environment of outer space.

Additionally, phenylpiracetam offered some neuroprotective effects, making it a valuable asset for astronauts who were exposed to various forms of radiation and stress during space travel. The drug’s potential to improve cognitive function, combined with its relatively low risk of side effects and potential for abuse, made it an ideal choice for this unique application.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is phenylpiracetam legal?

Phenylpiracetam legality varies by country. In the United States, it is unscheduled and can be purchased for personal use; however, it is not approved by the FDA for medical use. In some countries, like Australia, it is considered a prescription drug and cannot be purchased without a prescription. It is important to check your local regulations before acquiring phenylpiracetam to ensure compliance.

Why is phenylpiracetam banned?

Phenylpiracetam is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) because it can enhance physical performance and cognitive abilities, providing users with an unfair advantage in competitive sports. It is included in WADA’s illegal nootropics list alongside other stimulants and productivity boosters, such as modafinil, adrafinil, and selegiline 1.

What is phenylpiracetam good for?

Phenylpiracetam has been reported to improve cognitive functions, such as memory, focus, and mental clarity, while also providing a mild stimulant effect. Additionally, it has been shown to increase physical stamina and reduce fatigue. Some users have also reported mood-enhancing benefits, such as reduced anxiety and increased motivation.

Is phenylpiracetam a stimulant?

Yes, phenylpiracetam is considered a stimulant due to its ability to increase mental alertness, attention, and energy levels. However, its stimulant properties are typically milder than those of other well-known stimulants, such as caffeine and amphetamine. As a result, it may provide a smoother, longer-lasting increase in cognitive and physical energy.

What are the negative side effects of phenylpiracetam?

Common side effects of phenylpiracetam can include headache, irritability, insomnia, and digestive discomfort. However, these side effects are generally mild and can often be mitigated by reducing the dosage or using other supplements, such as choline, to support brain function. It is important to start with a low dose and listen to your body when using phenylpiracetam.

How does phenylpiracetam differ from other racetams?

Phenylpiracetam is structurally similar to other racetams like aniracetam and oxiracetam, but with the addition of a phenyl group to its chemical structure 2. This modification increases the compound’s potency, resulting in a nootropic that is both more stimulating and has a faster onset of action than its sister compounds. The additional phenyl group is also believed to improve phenylpiracetam’s bioavailability and ability to cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively than other racetams.


  1. Piracetam and piracetam-like drugs: from basic science to novel clinical applications to CNS disorders 2 3
  2. Piracetam vs Phenylpiracetam 2 3
  3. Assessing the Validity of Danio rerio as a Model Organism for Nootropic Research: The Effects of Phenylpiracetam on Larval Zebrafish Behavior
  4. Does Phenylpiracetam Increase Dopamine?

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