The Benefits of Aniracetam for Brain Function

a brain with colored strings attached representing brain function

Westend61/Getty Images

Aniracetam is a type of nootropic, a class of drugs used to enhance brain function. Although aniracetam is available as a prescription drug in Europe, it is currently unregulated in the United States.

Uses for Aniracetam

Classified as a smart drug, aniracetam is typically used in alternative medicine to sharpen memory, improve concentration, and increase mental alertness. In addition, aniracetam is sometimes used for the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • motion sickness
  • sleep disorders

Aniracetam is also touted as an anti-aging agent.

Benefits of Aniracetam

Although few clinical trials have tested the health effects of aniracetam, a number of preliminary studies indicate that aniracetam may offer certain health benefits.

In a report published in the journal CNS Drug Reviews in 2002, for instance, investigators analyzed the available research on the use of aniracetam in the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders and disease states.

Looking at findings from animal-based studies, the researchers found that aniracetam shows promise in the management of conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, and sleep disorders.

However, the report's authors note that is currently "no convincing evidence" of aniracetam's effectiveness in treating any of these conditions in humans. Here's a look at several other key findings from the available studies on aniracetam:


Aniracetam may aid in the treatment of anxiety disorders, according to a 2001 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology. In tests on mice, researchers found that aniracetam may help alleviate anxiety by affecting a number of neurotransmitters (a class of chemicals involved in carrying messages from nerve cells to other cells).


Aniracetam may possess antidepressant-like effects, a 2001 study from the journal Psychopharmacology suggests. In tests on rats, scientists discovered that aniracetam may help stimulate the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter commonly found at low levels in people with depression).

Cognitive Impairment

Several preliminary studies have shown that aniracetam may be of some benefit to people with cognitive impairment. For example, a 2012 study published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics found that treating elderly adults with aniracetam for a year led to a significant improvement in cognitive function. Involving 276 older adults with cognitive disorders, the study also found that aniracetam had beneficial effects on mood and emotional wellbeing.

In addition, a rat-based study published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2000 found that aniracetam may help treat the sleep disturbances commonly associated with dementia.


Aniracetam may trigger a number of side effects, including insomnia, headaches, anxiety, pain, vertigo, nausea, and diarrhea.

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of using aniracetam. It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated.

In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements safely.

Where to Find It

Aniracetam is widely available for purchase online.

Using Aniracetam for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend aniracetam for any health purpose. It's also important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with aniracetam and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of aniracetam, make sure to consult your physician prior to using it.

Was this page helpful?