What is Pramiracetam?
Pramiracetam (2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-N-[2-(diisopropylamino)ethyl]acetamid) is another nootropic that is derived from piracetam, but is roughly 10 times more potent. It was originally developed by the American pharmaceutical company Parke-David (now a division of Pfizer), which marketed under the name “Remen”. It has also been sold as CI-879, Neupramir, Ectapram, and Pramistar, among others. Pramiracetam is currently produced in Italy, but U.S.-based development has been discontinued.
How does it work?
Pramiracetam is unique among the racetams in that it has been shown to increases nitric oxide synthase activity. This small molecular is a vasodilator, meaning that it enhances blood flow, which provides more energy to neurons in the form of oxygen and glucose. The net effect is increased brain function. It also affects the cholinergic system by increasing neuronal choline uptake and acetycholine release. Unlike other racetams, pramiracetam does not seem to affect other neurotransmitter systems (GABA, serotonin, glutamate, etc.). It should be noted that although it is considered more potent, pramiracetam does not penetrate the blood-brain-barrier as well as related compounds. This may be a reason that clinical trials have been inconsistent; while some have shown marked benefits in certain disease states, others have not. Alzheimer’s disease is marked by degeneration of cholinergic pathways deep in the brain. Because pramiracetam affects this neurotransmitter system, researchers were optimistic about the possible effects of this compound on early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s patients, but results were disappointing. It is possible that pramiracetam is more effective in intact systems, but has little benefit once considerable degeneration has taken place.
Like the other racetam compounds, pramiracetam has been demonstrated to positively affect cognition. It has been demonstrated to enhance learning and memory in animals; a 30-mg/kg dose enhanced rats’ ability to remember objects that had been previously introduced into their cage. For comparison, a 400-mg/kg dose of piracetam was necessary to elicit the same effect. Similar results have been shown in humans. A 10-month long study in men with brain injuries revealed that 400 mg per day yielded cognitive improvements in just 1 month.
Studies in healthy volunteers showed that a 10-day pretreatment with pramiracetam prevented mild memory deficits that were induced with a drug called scopolamine, which acts on the acetylcholine system.
Anecdotally, users report that pramiracetam enhance goal-directed and purposeful behavior, as well as better concentration and retention.
Pramiracetam Side Effects
Pramiracetam is typically well tolerated without side effects. Like other piracetam derivatives, it is nontoxic even when taken for long periods of time. However, sensitive individuals may experience anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, headache, nausea or heartburn. Dosage can be adjusted to minimize these side effects. Patients with kidney disorders should take pramiracetam with caution and at low doses, as it can accumulate in the renal system. Individuals with prescriptions for amphetamines should be aware that pramiracetam is a strong amphetamine potentiator and enhances their effects.
Pramiracetam is fat-soluble and 15 mg/kg of body weight is the typical recommended dose (this equates to ~400-1600 mg per day). Some pill formulations come in 600 mg doses, which are often taken twice a day. However, the dose-response curve for pramiracetam is an “inverted U-shaped curve”, meaning that if your ideal dose is exceeded you might no experience any difference, or you might feel lethargic or unfocused. For some people, 2×200 mg doses are more than sufficient to feel the positive effects. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals start with the lowest recommended dose.
Pramiracetam enters systemic circulation fairly rapidly and reaches peak concentration 2-3 hours after administration. Its half-life is 4.5-6.5 hours. Like other racetams, combining pramiracetam with acetylcholine precursors such as lecithin and choline can enhance the compound’s effects. Users should begin to see results 1-2 months after beginning a pramiracetam regimen.
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