Piracetam: Benefits, Dosage, and Side Effects | Good Doctor
Piracetam is a neotropic drug in the racetams group which is a group of synthetic supplements that can improve cognitive abilities. This drug has a chemical name, namely 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide.
In the United States, several manufacturers sell this medication as a dietary supplement. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider piracetam to be a legal dietary supplement.
What is piracetam?
Piracetam has a history of being used to treat cognitive disorders. This drug is a drug that acts on the brain and nervous system that is used to improve cognitive function.
According to a meta-analysis of human studies, this drug is able to improve general cognition in people with cognitive decline, for example, the elderly.
This drug can also be used in patients with dementia, vertigo, cortical myoclonus, dyslexia, and head injuries.
This drug can be found in pharmacies. But these drugs are not considered vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or food substances. Therefore, this drug is not categorized as a dietary supplement by the FDA.
How does piracetam work?
Some scientists think that these drugs help maintain the membranes that surround cells so they can continue to function properly.
During aging or in certain diseases, the membranes surrounding cells begin to stiffen. Cells with rigid membranes cannot function properly.
This drug is a chemical that is thought to help cells in the brain and blood vessels function better.
The way these drugs work is not completely understood. These drugs can work by changing the availability of the brain’s supply of neurochemicals (neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones) or by increasing the supply of oxygen in the brain.
Also read: Things to Look For Before Consuming Domperidone
What are the benefits of piracetam?
Despite the fact that researchers are not entirely sure how these drugs work. However, several studies have associated this drug with various benefits.
The following are the benefits of piracetam which are summarized from Healthline:
1. Improve brain function
Research shows that taking this drug can improve brain function.
Another study states that this drug can also increase blood supply to the brain, as well as oxygen and glucose consumption, especially in patients with mental disorders.
This is another factor that can improve brain function.
In a study of 16 healthy people, they took 1,200 mg of this drug daily and had better verbal performance than people who took a placebo for 14 days.
Another study was also conducted for 21 days involving 16 adults with dyslexia and 14 students who consumed 1.6 grams of piracetam every day.
The research showed that this drug can help improve verbal learning by 15% and 8.6%, respectively.
2. Reduce the symptoms of dyslexia
Dyslexia is a learning problem that can make learning, reading, and spelling difficult. Research shows that this drug can make people with dyslexia learn and read better.
In one study, 225 dyslexic children aged 7 to 13 took 3.3 grams of this drug or a placebo daily for 36 weeks.
After 12 weeks, the children taking the drug showed significant improvements in their ability to read and understand sentences.
3. Protects against myoclonic attacks
Myoclonic attacks are involuntary muscle spasms that come on suddenly. This attack can interfere with a person’s activities, for example, writing, washing, or even eating.
Several studies state that this drug is able to protect against myoclonic attacks.
For example, a case study in a 47-year-old woman who had a myoclonic attack noted that taking 3.2 grams of this drug was able to stop her myoclonic attack.
In another study involving 11 people who took 20 grams of this drug daily for 18 months along with other drugs that were also consumed can reduce symptoms of myoclonic attacks.
Research also suggests that this drug can help reduce the severity of myoclonic attacks.
4. Mreduce the symptoms of dementia from Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia is described as symptoms that affect memory, ability to do tasks and communicate. Alzheimer’s is the most common disease that causes dementia.
An analysis of 19 studies in around 1,500 adults with dementia or brain disorders revealed that, 61% of patients taking piracetam showed improved mental performance compared to placebo treatment.
However, the study conducted in humans was a short-term study, which means that the long-term effects on people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are still not fully known.
5. Reduce inflammation and relieve pain
Inflammation is a natural response that helps the body to recover and fight disease.
However, inflammation can also be associated with various chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease.
In animal studies, piracetam has been shown to have antioxidant properties, meaning it can reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals, which are harmful molecules that can damage the body’s cells.
This drug is also able to reduce swelling and pain associated with inflammation.
Nonetheless, studies in humans need to show whether these drugs are able to reduce inflammation or pain in humans.
Warning before taking this drug
Even though it has many benefits, you should not take this drug carelessly. Pay attention to the following warnings before deciding to take this drug.
- Do not take this drug if you are allergic to piracetam or any of the ingredients contained in it
- Do not take this drug if you have liver disorders, severe kidney disorders, and hemorrhagic diathesis
- Pregnant and lactating women should not take this drug first
- Keep out of reach of children
- If you have an overdose, contact your doctor immediately
Piracetam interactions with other drugs
If you want to take this drug, you should consult your doctor first. Tell your doctor if you are also taking other medicines.
Piracetam can cause interactions if taken with other drugs, including:
Mild interactions of piracetam:
- Dessicated thyroid
This information does not give a full picture of interactions with other drugs.
Therefore it is highly recommended to inform the doctor about the medicinal products that are also being consumed. This is done so that piracetam does not cause serious harm.
Dosage instructions for using piracetam
To maintain the safety of this drug, you should follow the advice of your doctor or directions from your pharmacist.
This drug should not be consumed carelessly, because consuming it in excess can result in an overdose.
The following is the recommended dosage for use as reported WebMD:
Use in tablet and syrup form:
- Surgery to increase blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery): Take 12 grams of this drug daily for 6 weeks, starting on the 6th day after surgery
- Seizure disorders (Epilepsy): Take 9.6-24 grams of this drug daily for 18 months
- Movement disorders caused by antipsychotic drugs (Tardive dyskinesia): Take 2.4 grams of this drug 2 times a day for 4 weeks
- Vertigo: Take 800 mg of this drug 3 times a day for 8 weeks
Use in the form of a syringe:
- Surgery to increase blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery): Use of 12 grams as a single dose given by a healthcare professional. Used every day before surgery and 6 days after surgery
- Movement disorders caused by antipsychotic drugs (Tardive dyskinesia): Daily use of 8-24 grams administered by a healthcare professional
- Vertigo: Use 1-2 grams daily given by a health professional
Use in tablet and syrup form:
- Breathing attacks: Take 40 mg/kg daily for 2-3 months in children aged 6-36 months
- dyslexia: Take 3.3 grams daily for at least 12 weeks in children aged 7-14 years.
How to take piracetam
For drugs in tablet form, consume them using drinking water. Do not chew or crush it.
As for medicine in syrup form, use the spoon included in the package to get the correct dose, don’t use a tablespoon.
The dosage must be very careful. If you forget to take this medicine, take this medicine as soon as you remember. However, do not take this drug close to the next schedule.
Most importantly, avoid taking a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
What are the side effects of piracetam?
Just like drugs in general, this drug also has side effects that can be caused along with the benefits it provides. Some of the common side effects that this drug can cause are:
- Weight gain
- Feeling nervous
- Muscles get tense
- The appearance of a rash
If piracetam is consumed in excess, this drug can also cause symptoms of an overdose. Therefore, do not overdo it in taking this drug.
If side effects that are more severe and sustainable, contact your doctor immediately to get the right treatment.
Danger if consumed by pregnant and lactating women
Some drugs are highly recommended not to be consumed while pregnant or breastfeeding. Even so, there are some drugs that are safe to consume.
For piracetam itself there is no adequate research on its use for pregnant women.
However, it is highly recommended not to take this drug while pregnant. Piracetam has the risk of crossing the placental barrier.
Meanwhile, for nursing mothers, the ingredients contained in this drug can enter breast milk. Therefore, piracetam should not be taken while breastfeeding.
Always consult a doctor if you are confused about taking this drug. If you want to consume it, consume it wisely and follow the rules and instructions given.
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