Oxiracetam nootropic


David Tomen
David Tomen
11 minute read
Oxiracetam has been shown to improve short and long-term memory, boost concentration and focus, improve cognition and increase cognitive energy

Oxiracetam (4-Hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidine-N-acetamide or ISF-2522) is a water-soluble Ampakine nootropic in the racetam-class of compounds. Oxiracetam is considerably more potent than the original racetam, Piracetam.[i]

Oxiracetam was the 3rd racetam nootropic and developed in the 1970’s. It is chemically derived from Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidinoacetamide) where the main difference is the addition of a hydroxyl group. Oxiracetam, similar to other racetam nootropics, has a pyrrolidone nucleus at its core.

Oxiracetam modulates AMPA-sensitive glutamate receptors, and increases neurotransmitter release.[ii]

A favorite racetam among the nootropics community. Neurohackers use Oxiracetam to boost memory and learning, support brain health and for its mild stimulant properties.

Oxiracetam helps:

  • Brain Optimization: Oxiracetam significantly improves cognition and memory, sensory perception and reflexes. Focus and concentration get a boost. And recall is easier.
  • Neurotransmitters: Oxiracetam enhances choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) in your brain.[iii] ChAT is the enzyme responsible for acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is the neurotransmitter critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition and neuroplasticity.
  • Brain Energy: Oxiracetam modulates AMPA-receptors in your brain. Ampakines provide a stimulant-effect by influencing glutamate receptors. Without any of the side effects associated with stimulants.[iv] Oxiracetam also seems to boost ATP synthesis in brain cells.[v]


Oxiracetam (4-Hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidine-N-acetamide or ISF-2522) is in the racetam-family of nootropic compounds. It is a water-soluble ampakine nootropic. AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic) refers to one of three glutamate receptors in your brain.[vi]



The racetam-class of nootropics have a pyrrolidone nucleus at their core. But Oxiracetam also has an hydroxyl group. And Oxiracetam is a Cholinergic compound, meaning it affects acetylcholine levels in your brain.

Oxiracetam is sold as an over-the-counter, unrestricted compound in much of the world including the United States.

One of the older synthetic nootropic compounds, it is known as a cognitive enhancer. And for its stimulatory effects.

Oxiracetam is considered to be more potent than Piracetam. As an ampakine nootropic, it helps increase attention span, alertness and boosts memory. Including the ability to form long-term memories even if taken after the initial memory formation.[vii]

Ampakines tend to have a stimulant effect. But do not produce the same stimulant side effects as Ritalin or coffee from prolonged use.

Oxiracetam vs. Piracetam: What’s the Difference?

Oxiracetam was developed in the 1977 as a derivative of Piracetam.

Oxiracetam and Piracetam are both water-soluble. The half-life and nootropic benefits are similar.

Piracetam vs Oxiracetam

The potency of Oxiracetam seems to be about 5-times that of Piracetam. So it’ll take less to get the same nootropic effect.

Both Oxiracetam and Piracetam are cognitive enhancers. And both have neuroprotective qualities. Both racetams are able to improve learning and memory. And both are able to repair brain damage.

Oxiracetam has additional benefits not shared with Piracetam. Oxiracetam provides more of a stimulatory effect than Piracetam. Some even compare it to Modafinil.

Many prefer Oxiracetam over Piracetam. But if you’re a first-time user of Oxiracetam, start with a lower dose and see how you react to it. And make sure you stack it with a good choline source to avoid the racetam-headache and irritability sometimes associated with racetams.


How does Oxiracetam Work in the Brain?

Oxiracetam boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Oxiracetam boosts memory and cognition. Oxiracetam modulates AMPA receptors in the brain. These receptors work like control channels, overseeing and regulating synaptic transmission. Oxiracetam also increases the density of binding sites for neurotransmitters on AMPA receptors.[viii]

The result of these actions is a stimulant-effect without any of the negative side effects associated with stimulants. And there is clinical evidence that this stimulant action has an effect on memory and cognition.

One double-blind, placebo controlled trial was done with 65 patients diagnosed with primary degenerative dementia. Patients were given 800 mg of Oxiracetam twice daily for 12 weeks, or a placebo. Subjects were tested before the trial, and after 6 and 12 weeks of treatment.

The researchers found a significant difference in favor of Oxiracetam based on a ‘quality of life scale’, and several neurological tests for memory.[ix]

Oxiracetam also seems to prevent an imbalance of acetylcholine activity when NMDA receptors are malfunctioning.[x] AMPA and NMDA receptors work together for the flow of glutamate necessary for learning and memory. Including Long-Term Potentiation that is associated with neuroplasticity that allows long-term memories to form.

  1. Oxiracetam boosts the availability of acetylcholine (ACh) in the brain. Leading to improved short-term and long-term memory. And eliminating ‘brain fog’. Oxiracetam does this by boosting the sensitivity of ACh receptors.

Oxiracetam enhances protein kinase C (PKC) which affects M1 acetylcholine receptors. Oxiracetam even demonstrates the ability to repair these receptors when damaged.[xi] More ACh results in better learning and memory.

How things go bad

Glutamate is an excitatory relative of GABA. While GABA has a calming effect, glutamate stimulates. Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter in your central nervous system.

Glutamate is a pivotal neurotransmitter in the brain. It links the brain circuits involved in memory, learning and perception.Oxiracetam boosts memory

↓ Too little glutamate can cause problems with memory, learning and perception

↓ AMPA and NMDA receptors wear out or die

↓ Acetylcholine levels decline

↓ Cholinergic neurons wear or die out

All of these changes can happen at any age. And are a product of the food we eat, what we drink, lifestyle habits, the air we breathe and more.

So Oxiracetam can help for age-related cognitive decline, as well as a student looking to do better in school. By boosting acetylcholine and controlling glutamate in your brain.

Oxiracetam benefits

Oxiracetam-improves-focusClinical studies have looked at using Oxiracetam to treat Alzheimer’s, ADHD, dementia, concussions and other brain disorders. Many of these trials demonstrated Oxiracetam’s ability to improve learning, spatial learning performance, memory, recall and quality of life scores.

Oxiracetam works similar to other racetams by targeting the neurotransmitters acetylcholine (ACh) and glutamate.  ACh has a significant impact on memory formation and recall. And glutamate plays a role in memory formation, motivation and attention.

Oxiracetam encourages the use of acetylcholine in your brain. So when using Oxiracetam you must ensure you have adequate choline levels available to make acetylcholine. Most neurohackers stack Oxiracetam with a choline supplement like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.

Oxiracetam is used to boost short and long-term memory, eliminate brain fog, improve attention and focus, and the ability to learn.

How does Oxiracetam feel?

Nootropics users report that Oxiracetam clears brain fog, improves focus and motivation. Especially when learning new material or working through a tedious task.

You should see a significant improvement in recall. Reading may be easier giving you the ability to get through more pages faster and retain the information for later.

And some report an improvement in mood which could be the result of more acetylcholine available for use in the brain.

Oxiracetam does have a stimulant-effect so try not to take it too late in the day as it may interfere with a good night’s sleep.

You should be able to experience the effects of Oxiracetam soon after you take it. It’s water-soluble so it’s digested and enters your cells quickly. And unlike other stimulants, there is no “crash” once Oxiracetam leaves your system.

Oxiracetam Clinical Research

Researchers worked with 96 patients diagnosed with dementia for 12 months. Patients were treated with 1600 mg per day of Oxiracetam or a placebo. And were assessed at 2, 6 and 12 months of the trial.

The patients treated with Oxiracetam showed a significant improvement in reaction time and cognition. The placebo group experienced a worsening of conditions. The study authors concluded that Oxiracetam favorably acts on the symptoms of dementia. And can improve information processing, reaction times and attention.[xii]

Oxiracetam helps Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue affecting 1.7 million Americans each year.[xiii] TBI can be caused by sports injuries, work accidents, car and motorcycle accidents, falls, and your wife hitting you over the head with a frying pan.

Many survivors end up with long-term or even permanent neurocognitive dysfunction. Affecting cognition, motor function (movement) and personality. These disabilities are estimated to cost $9.2 billion in lifetime medical costs and $51.2 billion in productivity losses.[xiv]

In a brain subjected to TBI there is glutamate toxicity, free-radical injury to brain cells, electrolyte imbalances, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammation, apoptosis (cell death) and stroke.[xv]

In one study done with 30 Wistar rats, researchers looked at the role Oxiracetam could have on TBI. The animals were randomly divided into 3 groups. Rats in the treatment group were given 100 mg/kg of Oxiracetam for 21 days. Neurologic impairment scores were measured on days 1, 4, 7, 14 and 21.

The researchers found the treatment group had significantly less brain impairment after 7, 14 and 21 days. And concluded that Oxiracetam shows promise in decreasing neural injury caused by TBI. Increasing learning ability, memory and space cognition.[xvi]

Oxiracetam Improves Cognition and Memory

Researchers worked with 43 patients to evaluate the effects of Oxiracetam on ‘organic brain syndrome’ (OBS). OBS is brain dysfunction that is not attributable to a specific disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study had one group of patients taking 800 mg of Oxiracetam twice a day for 8 weeks, and the other group took a placebo.

In OBS patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, Oxiracetam improved cognition, logic and attention. The placebo group experienced no change in cognitive impairment.[xvii]

Another study with memory impaired rats showed that Oxiracetam restored acetylcholine receptors. Restoring learning and memory as a result.[xviii]

Oxiracetam Recommended Dosage

Recommended Oxiracetam dosage is 750 – 1,500 mg per day. Divided in two equal doses. One Oxiracetam dose in the morning, and one in the early afternoon.Oxiracetam dosage

Oxiracetam is sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. Tablets and capsules are usually 750 mg each.

Since Oxiracetam boosts the efficiency of acetylcholine in your brain, you should stack it with a good choline source like Alpha GPC or CDP Choline.

Oxiracetam Side Effects

Oxiracetam non-toxic. So is considered well-tolerated and safe.

Side effects are rare but can include anxiety, fatigue, headaches, nervousness and nausea. Side effects are often a result of unusually high doses of the nootropic.

Headaches from using Oxiracetam typically happen when you forget to combine it with a good choline supplement. Headaches are often a symptom of a choline deficit in your brain.

Where to buy Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam is sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. Tablets and capsules are usually 750 mg each.

I have tried and recommend:  Science.bio-Oxiracetam who sell Oxiracetam as a “research” compound. It is sold to be used in an academic laboratory research setting. They go on to state “nothing we sell is intended for nor is it manufactured for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes in humans.”

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Oxiracetam 750 – 1,500 mg per day

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using Oxiracetam as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does not make Oxiracetam on its own. So to get its benefits you must take it as a supplement.

Oxiracetam is especially helpful for those suffering from lack of energy, brain fog and the inability to focus. Oxiracetam influences AMPA and NMDA receptors in your brain. Improving the efficiency of the neurotransmitter glutamate. This excitatory brain chemical is responsible for sending signals between neuron in the brain. And plays a critical role in learning and forming memories.

Oxiracetam is also particularly useful to students and executives who want to boost cognition, learning and memory. It boosts the efficiency of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain. ACh is critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition and growth of new synapses (neuroplasticity).

Oxiracetam also helps improve verbal fluidity and sociability. Words seem to come easily, and vocabulary you didn’t know you had access to come into play.

You should stack Oxiracetam with a good choline supplement like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. It helps boost neural acetylcholine, so demands the presence of more choline in your brain.

You can safely boost daily intake of Oxiracetam to 2,800 mg if needed.

I have tried and recommend: Science.bio-Oxiracetam.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Banfi S., Fonio W., Allievi E., Pinza M., Dorigotti L. “Cyclic GABA-GABOB analogues. IV. Activity on learning and memory.” Farmaco Sci. 1984 Jan;39(1):16-22. (source)

[ii] Marchi M., Besana E., Raiteri M. “Oxiracetam increases the release of endogenous glutamate from depolarized rat hippocampal slices.” The European Journal of Pharmacology. 1990 Aug 28;185(2-3):247-9. (source)

[iii] Mochizuki D., Sugiyama S., Shinoda Y. “[Biochemical studies of oxiracetam (CT-848) on cholinergic neurons].” in Japanese Nihon Yakurigaku Zasshi. 1992 Jan;99(1):27-35. (source)

[iv] Copani A., Genazzani A.A., Aleppo G., Casabona G., Canonico P.L., Scapagnini U., Nicoletti F. “Nootropic drugs positively modulate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid-sensitive glutamate receptors in neuronal cultures.” Journal of Neurochemistry. 1992 Apr;58(4):1199-204. (source)

[v] Gabryel B., Trzeciak H.I., Pudełko A., Cieślik P. “Influence of piracetam and oxiracetam on the content of high-energy phosphates and morphometry of astrocytes in vitro.” Polish Journal of Pharmacology. 1999 Nov-Dec;51(6):485-95. (source)

[vi] Purves D., Augustine G.J., Fitzpatrick D., et al., editors. “Glutamate Receptors” Neuroscience. 2nd edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2001. (source)

[vii] Mondadori C., Möbius H.J., Borkowski J. “The GABAB receptor antagonist CGP 36,742 and the nootropic oxiracetam facilitate the formation of long-term memory.” Behavioral Brain Research. 1996 May;77(1-2):223-5. (source)

[viii] Nicoletti F., Casabona G., Genazzani A.A., Copani A., Aleppo G., Canonico P.L., Scapagnini U. “Excitatory amino acids and neuronal plasticity: modulation of AMPA receptors as a novel substrate for the action of nootropic drugs.” Functional Neurology. 1992 Sep-Oct;7(5):413-22. (source)

[ix] Bottini G., Vallar G., Cappa S., Monza G.C., Scarpini E., Baron P., Cheldi A., Scarlato G. “Oxiracetam in dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Acta Neurologica Scandinavia. 1992 Sep;86(3):237-41. (source)

[x] Belfiore P., Ponzio F., Biagetti R., Berettera C., Magnani M., Pozzi O. “Oxiracetam prevents the hippocampal cholinergic hypofunction induced by the NMDA receptor blocker AP7.” Neuroscience Letters. 1992 Aug 31;143(1-2):127-30. (source)

[xi] Fordyce D.E., Clark V.J., Paylor R., Wehner J.M. “Enhancement of hippocampally-mediated learning and protein kinase C activity by oxiracetam in learning-impaired DBA/2 mice.” Brain Research. 1995 Feb 20;672(1-2):170-6. (source)

[xii] Rozzini R., Zanetti O., Bianchetti A. “Treatment of cognitive impairment secondary to degenerative dementia. Effectiveness of oxiracetam therapy.” Acta Neurol (Napoli). 1993 Feb;15(1):44-52. (source)

[xiii] Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, Coronado VG (2010) “Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths 2002–2006”. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (source)

[xiv] Rutland-Brown W., Langlois J.A., Thomas K.E., Xi Y.L. “Incidence of traumatic brain injury in the United States, 2003.” Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. 2006 Nov- Dec;21(6):544-8. (source)

[xv] Yi J.H., Hazell A.S. “Excitotoxic mechanisms and the role of astrocytic glutamate transporters in traumatic brain injury.”Neurochemistry International. 2006 Apr;48(5):394-403 (source)

[xvi] Li J.W., Yang D.J., Chen X.Y., Liang H.Q. “[Protective effect of oxiracetam on traumatic brain injury in rats]. in Chinese Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi. 2013 Jul;29(4):298-300. (source)

[xvii] Moglia A., Sinforiani E., Zandrini C., Gualtieri S., Corsico R., Arrigo A. “Activity of oxiracetam in patients with organic brain syndrome: a neuropsychological study.” Clinical Neuropharmacology. 1986;9 Suppl 3:S73-8. (source)

[xviii] Magnani M., Pozzi O., Biagetti R., Banfi S., Dorigotti L. “Oxiracetam antagonizes the disruptive effects of scopolamine on memory in the radial maze.” Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1992;106(2):175-8. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 69 comments

December 15, 2022

Thank you for this valuable article. I am currently taking CDP Choline along with Uridine. Would there be any benefit of adding Oxiracetam to the mix? I am 50 years old, and in good health, but I want to improve my memory, etc.

Thank you for your input.

    David Tomen
    December 16, 2022

    DW, you have far better options for improving memory. Any of the racetams is an option in my opinion. Take care of the fundamentals first then try something like Oxiracetam. I have several articles on this website for improving memory. Use the search function top right and search for the keyword “memory”.

Dor Konforty
November 22, 2022

Why would one use Oxiracetam over Aniracetam? What are the differences besides being water vs fat soluble?

Also, for all the various racetams, what would you suggest as a cutoff time before bed?

Many thanks to you for your wonderful research.

November 7, 2022

Smart Nutrition gives little information about their products. Why is that? Some of their products literally have no ingredient list.

    David Tomen
    November 7, 2022

    Colby, you’ll need to ask Smart Nutrition that question instead of posting it hear. But I’m not sure what kind of ingredient information you are looking for when it states on the label what’s in the bottle. And I’m sure they’d be happy to send you a Certificate of Analysis for that batch of supplement if you need more proof.

October 26, 2022

why oxiracitam is not avilabe in the market scinse 2021?

October 25, 2022

So far this is the only reputable vendor selling Racetam supplements. Thoughts?

August 3, 2022

which one is best for studying in college oxiracetam or piracetam

    David Tomen
    August 3, 2022

    Hanni, Oxiracetam is considered to be more potent than Piracetam. As an ampakine nootropic, it helps increase attention span, alertness and boosts memory. Including the ability to form long-term memories even if taken after the initial memory formation. So, Oxiracetam is likely better for studying than Piracetam. And you can use much smaller doses.

July 8, 2022

Where can you by racetams these days? Most of the ones I’ve checked say they’ve been discontinued. But with them it appears you now need to create an account with them before they will share any options to buy racetams from them. I imagine it is a safety issue on their end to keep them out of trouble with the FDA. Which is why everyone else stopped selling racetams.

    David Tomen
    July 9, 2022

    Allen, scroll back up to my article because I provide a link to the only company I know of who sell any racetams these days.

      July 26, 2022

      As of July 26, 2022, Pure Nootropics does not sell oxiracetam.

        David Tomen
        July 26, 2022

        Thanks for the update Mike

Matheus C
June 10, 2022

Hi David, I’m looking for a fast-acting racetam, nto something like piracetam which you are supposed to let build up in your system over time. I’m looking for something to take 2-3 times per week for those heavy-load work days. Are the water soluble racetams what I’m looking for? I tried noopept; it doesn’t seem to do much for me. What do you think about oxiracetam and aniracetam in this regard? I’ve also read (anecdotally) that phenylracetam is fast-acting for some, though I don’t think that one is water soluble. What are your thoughts?

    David Tomen
    June 11, 2022

    Mattheus, most of the other racetams will provide their benefit faster than what Piracetam does.

    Piracetam and Oxiracetam are both water soluble. The rest on this list (https://nootropicsexpert.com/the-top-7-racetams-which-one-is-best/) are fat-soluble

      Matheus C
      June 13, 2022

      Are the water or fat soluble racetams faster-acting, or does it not matter? I want to avoid the racetams that you need to build up in your system (like piracetam) because I don’t want to take them that often.

        David Tomen
        June 13, 2022

        Water soluble supplements are usually faster acting because they get absorbed quicker. But I would not worry about the other racetams because you do not need a loading period before they work.

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