Aniracetam vs. Piracetam: How Do These Nootropics Differ?

If you’re familiar with synthetic nootropics, you’ve probably heard of piracetam and aniracetam. The racetam family consists of several compounds and analogs with comparable structures. Despite their molecular similarities, the slight differences in their interaction with the human brain and body can have profound consequences. 

Both piracetam and aniracetam promise better cognitive performance, improved memory and learning and higher motivation – but they work very differently in the brain.

To help you decide which nootropic is best for you, we’ve put together this detailed aniracetam vs. piracetam guide.

What is Aniracetam?

Aniracetam is essentially a nootropic supplement, a class of compounds that improve brain function.

Its scientific name is N-anisoyl-2-pyrrolidinone and is available in the form of both tablets and powder. Aniracetam nootropics are also known by brands Ampamet, Dragon, and Referan. Many people refer to it as a “smart drug” since it helps with mood, mental alertness, focus, and memory. 

Aniracetam is supposed to help with “holistic and collective” growth since it boosts blood circulation and activity in the association cortex. The association cortex is the area of your brain that interprets data from sensory stimulation.

Despite its reputation as a brain booster, aniracetam is a controversial substance. It’s approved in Europe but not in the United States. While aniracetam doesn’t have FDA approval, some people buy it illegally from online merchants. 

Mechanism of Action 

The nootropics’ mechanism of action refers to how they work inside your body. This section explains how a medicine leads to specific effects and which areas of your brain participate in the process. 

Simply put, aniracetam improves the neuroplasticity of your brain. It increases cognition by increasing the activity of the Ach system, which is essential for learning speed, memory enhancement, attention span and other cognitive processes. 

Aniracetam stimulates AMPA receptors, also known as ampakines, in the brain. It increases the production of neurological nootropic factors by stimulating AMPA receptors (BDNF). This explains some of the cognitive and memory-related benefits. Aniracetam also releases dopamine via AMPA and glutamate receptors.

This smart drug also enhances glutamate activation by binding to kainate receptors (another glutamate receptor), assisting in data retention and generating new memories. 

Benefits of Aniracetam

So why should you be using aniracetam? Let’s find out.


Aniracetam can increase the quality of the REM period of dreams in post-stroke patients. Scientists have looked into aniracetam’s impacts on sleep in greater depth. Research demonstrates that these nootropics can aid in various sleep disorders and impairments⦍1⦎. 

In short, it may enhance sleep patterns and sleep quality of different people, but no detailed research exists at this time.


This nootropic helps you stay focused on one particular job or transition your attention between activities more easily by keeping you alert and engaged. Aniracetam brings forth a ‘feeling’ of concentration, although it’s absorbed faster by your body.


Aniracetam appears to lessen memory and learning impairment produced by cerebral ischemia, cholinergic antagonists and electroconvulsive shock, among other agents and traumas. It can also shield against scopolamine-induced impairment, and it does so more effectively than piracetam[2].

Mood Enhancement

Aniracetam’s mood-enhancing and antidepressant properties are also quite beneficial. It improves mood primarily through pumping dopamine and serotonin, the two primary neurotransmitters linked to positive moods. 


Aniracetam helps reduce the rate of receptor dissociation and promotes acetylcholine secretion in the hypothalamus, a region linked to new memory formation. These two actions work together to increase reasoning, attention and language, resulting in a favorable environment for both short and long-term memory. 

Aniracetam is effective at ramping up the recall process and improving general memory formation. This is a crucial cognitive process that allows you to dig up the correct information when it’s called for. However, more studies are required to find its other effects[3].

What You Should Know Before Using Aniracetam

Keep the following in mind before deciding whether aniracetam is right for you:

  • There are no scientific records regarding the supplement
  • There’s no official website for the company or the supplement
  • The FDA hasn’t authorized aniracetam products and has classed them as prescription medications[4]
  • Its cost varies quite a bit

A lot is unknown regarding aniracetam’s long-term safety. According to studies, it’s well-tolerated for up to a year. The following are some of the minor side effects of aniracetam:

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Uneasiness
  • Rashes 
  • Vertigo
  • Insomnia 
  • Anxiety

Aniracetam has the potential to interact with other drugs, amplifying the effects of anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, and even some antihistamines.


Aniracetam is found in 750-milligram (mg) capsules, powder, or as parts of brain-boosting multi-supplements. 

Clinical trials have tested doses as high as 1500 mg per day with no noticeable side effects[5]. Aniracetam, unlike piracetam, has a short but potent effect and can be taken up to 4 times within 24 hours for lesser dosages.

It can also be administered at 1500 mg per day per dose to treat dementia. Never take more than the amount indicated on a supplement’s label, as it can have a negative impact. Remember, higher doses don’t always mean more benefits.

Aniracetam intake should begin with a low dose and gradually increase to the prescribed dosage. This will help your body become accustomed to its effects. 

Since aniracetam is a fat-soluble chemical, physicians recommend taking the drug with meals that contain oils and fats, increasing its blood absorption and bioavailability. On the other hand, taking the powder on an empty stomach can be just as effective.

Pro Tip: Speak with your doctor about any medical problems you may have and whether aniracetam is a viable option for you.

What is Piracetam?

Piracetam is a nootropic medication that goes by the chemical name 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide. It’s said to be the first nootropic medicine. Despite being less effective than other racetams, it’s quite popular among people who use it to improve their cognitive abilities.

Piracetam acts by stimulating two types of brain receptors that regulate the amount of neurotransmitter synthesis. It enhances the amount of Acetylcholine and Glutamate in the brain, two molecules that help you learn, think, remember and concentrate better.

Short-term piracetam effects include better motivation, attention, higher sensory perception and alertness, and an overall feeling of mental vitality.

Piracetam doesn’t have FDA approval for any medical or other application. There isn’t a lot of clinical study on these supplements. That said, it’s available in both capsule and powder forms and may be obtained online or in health food stores[6].

Mechanism of Action 

The nootropic piracetam helps improve synaptic plasticity and the function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter increases acetylcholine receptor synthesis, effectively bonds, and permits the brain’s neurological connections to move more quickly[7].

Piracetam increases the activity of glutamate-binding AMPA receptors in your brain and improves cognitive capacities such as brain memory, metabolism, learning and focus since it increases blood flow to the brain[8]. It does so by improving the connection between the two hemispheres of your brain. 

While piracetam increases cognition, it can also decrease choline levels in the brain. This is why many users combine piracetam with a choline supplement to minimize depletion.

Glutamate is another neurotransmitter essential in synaptic plasticity. Piracetam boosts cognitive performance and memory by increasing glutamate receptor sensitivity.

Benefits of Piracetam 

Some reasons why you should consider using piracetam:

Seizures with Myoclonic Convulsions

Initiation of spontaneous muscle movement develops myoclonic seizures. These seizures are unusual in that they happen when a person is awake and aware, affecting the muscles and causing a shock or a lightning-like movement[9]. Piracetam has been shown in small clinical studies to help with the symptoms of these seizures[10].

Dyslexia Symptoms

Dyslexia is a learning disability that makes reading, learning, and spelling more difficult by affecting the brain’s language processing region. 

People with dyslexia have trouble distinguishing speech sounds and commonly mix up letters or write them in the wrong place. Studies have shown that piracetam helps dyslexic students learn more effectively[11]. 

Brain Function

Piracetam and other nootropics are referred to as “smart drugs” by many makers and consumers. While there are studies on the benefits of other nootropics like bacopa, there isn’t much proof to go by for piracetam. However, the studies done so far do show promise of improving brain function.

Cell membranes become stiffer as people grow older, making it more challenging to digest new information. According to research, cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by a decrease in membrane fluidity. Piracetam has been shown in several studies to help protect these cellular structures[12].

Pain Reduction and Inflammation

Inflammation is a healthy response that aids your body’s disease-fighting and healing abilities. Nonetheless, low-level chronic inflammation relates to various chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and renal disease[13]. 

Piracetam has been found in animal studies to have antioxidant qualities, meaning it can help neutralize free radicals, which are potentially toxic substances that can hurt your cells. In animal experiments, piracetam reduced inflammation-related discomfort and swelling[14]. 

However, there’s a lack of human studies to see if the medicine can help patients with inflammation and pain.

Cognitive Decline as People Get Older

Our bodies and brains change as we age. With each passing year, climbing that mountain, learning a new language, or recalling knowledge becomes more difficult. For most people, cognitive decline is an unavoidable part of life. 

Piracetam and other nootropics have been seen to aid delay in cognitive deterioration. Piracetam in particular was discovered by researchers to increase memory and focus[15]. These findings were even more obvious in people who were also depressed.

Side Effects 

While research on piracetam is limited, most studies define it as having few side effects. Nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and tiredness are the most prevalent side effects as found in piracetam research[16].

Since the substance isn’t licensed for use as a dietary supplement, you should seek medical guidance from a trained healthcare expert before ordering these nootropics online. Your healthcare practitioner can assist you with the advantages and disadvantages of nootropics such as piracetam.


You can consume piracetam as a powder or premade (pre-dosed and pre-packaged) tablets.

Piracetam has a lengthy half-life. It requires a higher dosage because it has a less stimulating response. The suggested dosage ranges from 800 mg to 1600 mg 2-3 times a day, depending on the individual’s tolerance and size[17].

The usual piracetam dosage for cognitive enhancement is roughly 4800 mg per day, divided into three doses[18]. To increase cognitive performance, many people take piracetam before mental activity. 

Piracetam is a water-soluble substance that should be consumed on an empty stomach. But there is no concrete data on its bioavailability, half-life in the body, or the relative benefits and drawbacks that different dosing schedules might have.

Aniracetam vs. Piracetam: What’s the Difference?

As you can see, every racetam has its own set of advantages. Piracetam is an excellent place to start if you’re new to nootropics. It has a longer-lasting, more subtle influence on cognitive functioning. On the other hand, aniracetam is strong and guarantees you a quick-acting supplement. 

Compare the anti-anxiety effects of both these nootropics, and you’ll find that aniracetam is superior. It may be the right choice for you if you want a quick memory boost that makes you more interactive, reduces anxiety, and improves focus. If you want a well-researched, tested, and longer-lasting cognitive enhancer, piracetam is the preferred option.

Both substances are being studied as potential treatments for dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, brain damage and other mental illnesses. So if you can’t choose between the two, stack them together.

All in all, both of them are powerful nootropics that enhance brain processes. The choice between aniracetam vs. piracetam ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. 



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