Pramiracetam helps focus and memory


David Tomen
David Tomen
Robert Iafelice, MS, RDN, LDN
Fact Checked:
Robert Iafelice, MS, RDN, LDN
12 minute read
Pramiracetam has been shown to boost overall cognition, focus, working- and long-term memory, and learning

Key Takeaways

  1. Pramiracetam, a fat-soluble nootropic developed by Parke-Davis in the 1970s, is known to enhance overall cognition, focus, long-term memory, and learning.

  2. Unlike some other nootropics, Pramiracetam doesn’t directly influence GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin in the brain, instead it increases nitric oxide activity which helps improve cerebral circulation.

  3. Pramiracetam boosts brain health and function in several ways, primarily improving memory and enhancing high-affinity choline uptake (HACU).

  4. Pramiracetam can help counter the effects of age-related cognitive decline by increasing acetylcholine synthesis and cerebral circulation.

  5. Pramiracetam dosage recommendations are 250-400 mg up to three times a day, taken with a quality fat and, for best results, a supplemental choline source.

Pramiracetam (N-[2-[di(propan-2-yl) amino] ethyl]-2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl) acetamide, CI-879, Pramistar, Neupramir, Remen) is a fat-soluble nootropic in the racetam-class of compounds.

Do not mistake this racetam with Phenylpiracetam which acts as a central nervous system stimulant.

Pramiracetam was first synthesized by scientists at Parke-Davis in the late 1970’s. It was first tested with Alzheimer’s disease patients. Seeing mixed results, the company tried it with major depressive disorder. And licensed Pramiracetam as an orphan drug to Menarini who continued research on using it for dementia.

In 1991, the company licensed Pramiracetam to Cambridge Neuroscience Inc. (CNI).[i] The nootropic was then tested for restoring cognitive function after stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Researchers found that Pramiracetam was up to 30-times more potent than the original Piracetam. In Europe this nootropic is prescribed for the treatment of dyslexia, ADHD, dementia and other memory problems. Brand names for prescription Pramiracetam include Pramistar, Neupramir and Remen.

Pramiracetam has gained a reputation in the nootropics community for optimizing cognition. It’s a favorite with students and executives for boosting cognition, focus, memory, and recall.

Pramiracetam helps:

  • High Affinity Choline Uptake (HACU)

    Pramiracetam has been shown to significantly increase HACU in the hippocampus. This action boosts acetylcholine (ACh) use which accounts at least in part for Pramiracetam ability to enhance cognition and memory.[ii]

  • Neurotransmitters

    Pramiracetam has a profound effect on the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh).[iii] ACh is critical for encoding new memories, concentration, cognition and neuroplasticity.

  • Cerebral Blood Flow

    Pramiracetam increases nitric oxide (NO) activity in your brain.[iv] NO acts as a vascular dilator which means it relaxes blood vessels allowing for the freer flow of blood. Increased blood flow delivers more oxygen and nutrients to brain cells promoting better learning and memory.


Pramiracetam (N-[2-[di(propan-2-yl) amino] ethyl]-2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl) acetamide or CI-879) is one of the newer nootropics in the racetam-family.

Pramiracetam was developed by Parke-Davis in the late 1970’s

Pramiracetam was developed by Parke-Davis in the late 1970’s from Piracetam by substituting the amide group with a dipropan-2-ylaminoethyl group. Parke-Davis was once America’s largest and oldest drug maker. It has since been acquired by Pfizer as part of their acquisition of Warner-Lambert in 2000.

Parke-Davis has an interesting history and were pioneers in many areas including drugs that affect cognition. Even conducting some research with peyote in the early 1900’s.[v]

Pramiracetam as a nootropic is legal, and sold in many parts of the world as the prescription drug Pramistar, Neupramir, or Remen. In the United States, Pramiracetam is sold as an OTC ‘research compound’, and readily available to the nootropics community.

Pramiracetam shares a unique quality with Coluracetam in the racetam-class of nootropics. Its primary method of action is boosting high affinity choline uptake (HACU) in the hippocampus. It helps increase acetylcholine synthesis and function which helps overall cognition, improved memory and recall, learning, and focus.

Pramiracetam has been shown in the lab to not directly influence GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, or serotonin in the brain.[vi] So don’t look to Pramiracetam to correct mood and anxiety issues.

Pramiracetam does increase nitric oxide activity in your brain. Helping to increase cerebral circulation which improves the efficiency of brain cells needed for motor function, learning and visual function.

Pramiracetam increases cerebral circulation

How does Pramiracetam work in the Brain?

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

  1. Pramiracetam improves memory. Several animal and human studies show that Pramiracetam has a significant impact on memory.

In one of the animal studies researchers administered Pramiracetam to rats in a one-trial test. This is significant because it proves that Pramiracetam works right out of the gate. It doesn’t take multiple doses, or a couple of weeks to build up in your system. It works on the first day you use it.

The scientists found that rats had a significant improvement in retention by using Pramiracetam. And the effect lasted for 24 hours.[vii]

  1. Pramiracetam increases high-affinity choline uptake (HACU). Studies have shown that Pramiracetam boosts HACU in the hippocampus. The increase in acetylcholine (ACh) makes more of this neurotransmitter available to neurons for cognitive processing. Increasing attention, mental clarity, memory and verbal skills.[viii]

High affinity choline uptake (HACU) is the uptake of choline in synapses needed for acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis. This is a critical link in the chain of events needed for your brain to make ACh.[ix] Studies with Pramiracetam and other racetam nootropics like Coluracetam show that boosting HACU increases memory. And even restores memory function in parts of the brain that have been damaged.[x]

How things go bad

As we get older, our brain chemistry and metabolism changes. And it seems these changes are affecting younger and younger people.

↓ Recall, reaction time and learning capacity declinesPramiracetam boosts acetylcholine

↓ Acetylcholine receptors decline

↓ Acetylcholine levels decline

↓ Cerebral blood flow declines

↓ Nitric Oxide levels decline

↓ Negative Cognitive Symptoms Occur

All of these changes are contributing factors to age-related cognitive decline. Early signs of these effects can be seen in poor decision-making, difficulty learning, and even recalling simple things like an important appointment.

But even if you’re not concerned with the signs of aging, Pramiracetam can help.

Pramiracetam benefits

Pramiracetam helps boost acetylcholine (ACh) synthesis and use in your brain, and increases cerebral circulation. This compound is highly bioavailable, meaning it passes through the blood-brain barrier quite easily.

Pramiracetam helps increase focus and memoryAs a nootropic, Pramiracetam easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.[xi] And since it is fat-soluble, it must be taken with a healthy fat such as unrefined coconut oil or MCT Oil to ensure absorption.

Pramiracetam increases the amount and efficiency of acetylcholine by influencing the high affinity choline uptake (HACU) system in your brain. This increase in ACh can have a profound effect on overall cognition and memory.

With Pramiracetam, you’ll find it easier to focus and learning ability will improve. This increase in ACh in your hippocampus helps with logic and understanding complex mathematical and technical subjects if that’s your thing.

Increased neuroplasticity from more acetylcholine and improved cerebral circulation affects long-term potentiation.[xii] So you may find it easier to recall long-forgotten memories.

How does Pramiracetam feel?

Many neurohackers report that taking Pramiracetam quickly gets your brain firing on all cylinders. There is an intense increase in focus and possibly even a boost in confidence.

But once you get accustomed to this laser-like focus, the novelty wears off and you become used to being able to focus at will.

Pramiracetam is reported to be great for intense, long study sessions. Or when you face logical, attention-based tasks where you need sharp focus. Like when you’re doing a presentation before the Board, or a group of VC’s.

This nootropic makes burning through tedious, arduous tasks that require a level of sustained focus easier, and that would otherwise seem difficult.

Others report improved recall ability, fluidity of thought, and ease of verbal communication and numerical calculations.

Pramiracetam boosts verbal fluidity

Pramiracetam Clinical Trials and Research

Pramiracetam Normalizes Brain Waves

Researchers working with old Fisher-344 rats found that the aged rats had a consistently different EEG profile from young rats. They found slow brain waves were present in both the frontal cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Theta brain wave activity was missing altogether but was dominant in the brains of young rats.

Theta brain waves are associated with creativity, integrative experiences and relief from trauma associated with brain injury. Theta waves are commonly experienced by meditators. An “ah-ha moment” is a burst of Theta waves in your brain.

This research team found that Pramiracetam normalized brain wave activity in the old rats. And even more interesting was that its older sibling Piracetam did not produce this effect on brain waves. And that tolerance to Piracetam was a problem.

While it hasn’t been proven in the lab, this study shows that Pramiracetam would be of benefit to the older generation looking to improve cognitive function.[xiii]

Pramiracetam Improves Memory

Researchers in Italy investigated Pramiracetam effects on memory, and memory training by a therapist. Types of memory measured were objective memory and metamemory performance.

Metamemory is both the inner-knowledge of one’s own memories combined with the processes for formulating new memories with no inner-knowledge.

35 healthy volunteers were chosen with an average age of 64.8 years. 10 subjects received memory training only, 8 received Pramiracetam, 10 received both memory training and Pramiracetam, and the control group received nothing.

Results of the study showed that those receiving both memory training and Pramiracetam experienced a significant improvement in memory. Followed by the Pramiracetam group. The memory training-only group and control group scored the lowest.

The research team concluded that Pramiracetam significantly improves memory. And the addition of memory training to Pramiracetam has an even more profound effect of both types of memory measured.[xiv]

Pramiracetam Enhances Cognitive Function

This double-blind placebo-controlled study worked with young males who suffered cognition problems due to traumatic brain injury. The men had problems with memory and recall.

One group received 400 mg of Pramiracetam daily for 18 months. And the other group a placebo. Memory was measured during the trial and for 1-month after Pramiracetam was discontinued.

The researchers found that Pramiracetam produced a significant improvement in overall brain function, cognition, memory and recall.[xv] These improvements were evident as well during a 1-month follow-up period after the Pramiracetam was discontinued.

Pramiracetam Dosage

Recommended Pramiracetam dosage is 250 – 400 mg up to 3-times per day. One Pramiracetam dose in the morning, and one in the early afternoon, and if you’re doing a 3rd dose do it later in the afternoon.Pramiracetam is used by students and executives to boost cognition

Pramiracetam is fat-soluble so for best results take it with a quality fat like a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil, MCT oil, or extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t take Pramiracetam with supplemental fat, don’t expect much of an improvement in cognition.

My preferred healthy fat is a tablespoon of the new organic, non-GMO Performance Lab® MCT Oil.

Pramiracetam is one of two racetams (the other is Coluracetam) that have a profound effect on high affinity choline uptake (HACU). This means it will help your brain make more acetylcholine (ACh) and boost the use of ACh.

Acetylcholine is synthesized from the available choline in your brain. Which means for best results you should stack Pramiracetam with supplemental choline. I recommend a good quality choline source like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.

Pramiracetam tastes particularly nasty. So you may want to get capsules or tablets rather than powder (unless you’re making your own capsules).

DO NOT try to take Pramiracetam sublingually because it will literally burn the lining of your mouth.

Pramiracetam Side Effects

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

As with many of the racetams, Pramiracetam can cause headaches because it boosts the use of acetylcholine in your brain. Choline supplements like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline can help you avoid this side effect.

Many neurohackers also find that stacking Pramiracetam with a choline supplement boosts the effect with improved memory and cognition. And this is supported in several research studies.

Some users report that Pramiracetam blunts their emotions. Decisions when it comes life and work issues are logic-based rather than emotional. This can be good or bad depending on the situation of course. You could call it “emotional objectivity”.

Where to buy Pramiracetam

Pramiracetam is sold in tablet, capsule and powder form. Tablets and capsules are usually 250 or 300 mg each.

You can currently buy this racetam from Cosmic Nootropic – Pramiracetam  or – Pramiracetam who sell Pramiracetam 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

Pramiracetam 250 – 400 mg up to 3-times per day

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using Pramiracetam as a nootropic supplement to enhance your cognitive abilities.

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

Pramiracetam is especially helpful for those suffering from age-related cognitive decline. Its boosts high affinity choline uptake (HACU) which means more acetylcholine (ACh) is available in your brain. Providing a significant improvement in cognition and memory, and other mental function.

Pramiracetam is also particularly useful to students and executives who want to boost their cognitive ability, cognition, focus, learning and memory.

Pramiracetam is fat-soluble so stack it with a good quality fat like coconut oil, olive oil or MCT oil. My preferred healthy fat is a tablespoon of the new organic, non-GMO Performance Lab® MCT Oil.

You should use Pramiracetam with a 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 Pramiracetam to 1500 mg if needed. But most find that lower doses are more effective.

You can currently buy this racetam from Cosmic Nootropic – Pramiracetam  or – Pramiracetam.

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.


[ii] Pugsley T.A., Shih Y.H. “Some neurochemical properties of pramiracetam (CI-879), a new cognition-enhancing agent” Drug Development Research Volume 3, Issue 5, pages 407–420, 1983 (source)

[iii] Brust P. “Reversal of scopolamine-induced alterations of choline transport across the blood-brain barrier by the nootropics piracetam and pramiracetam.” Arzneimittelforschung. 1989 Oct;39(10):1220-2. (source)

[iv] Corasaniti M.T., Paoletti A.M., Palma E., Granato T., Navarra M., Nisticò G. “Systemic administration of pramiracetam increases nitric oxide synthase activity in the cerebral cortex of the rat.” Functional Neurology. 1995 May-Jun;10(3):151-5. (source)

[v] Sutin, Lawrence (2000). Do What Thou Wilt: a life of Aleister Crowley. Macmillan. p. 253. ISBN 978-0312252434.

[vi] Pavlík A., Benesová O., Dlohozková N. “Effects of nootropic drugs on brain cholinergic and dopaminergic transmission.” Activitas Nervosa Superior (Praha). 1987 Mar;29(1):62-5. (source)

[vii] Ennaceur A., Cavoy A., Costa J.D., Delacour J. “A new one-trial test for neurobiological studies of memory in rats. II: Effects of piracetam and pramiracetam” Behavioural Brain Research Volume 33, Issue 2, 1 June 1989, Pages 197–207 (source)

[viii] Shih Y.H., Pugsley T.A. “The effects of various cognition-enhancing drugs on in vitro rat hippocampal synaptosomal sodium dependent high affinity choline uptake.” Life Sciences. 1985 Jun 3;36(22):2145-52. (source)

[ix] Simon J.R., Atweh S., Kuhar M.J. “Sodium-dependent high affinity choline uptake: a regulatory step in the synthesis of acetylcholine.”Journal of Neurochemistry. 1976 May;26(5):909-22. (source)

[x] Murai S., Saito H., Abe E., Masuda Y., Odashima J., Itoh T. “MKC-231, a choline uptake enhancer, ameliorates working memory deficits and decreased hippocampal acetylcholine induced by ethylcholine aziridinium ion in mice.” Journal of Neural Transmission 1994;98(1):1-13. (source)

[xi] Auteri A., Blardi P., Celasco G., Segre G., Urso R. “Pharmacokinetics of pramiracetam in healthy volunteers after oral administration.” International Journal of Clinical Pharmacological Research. 1992;12(3):129-32. (source)

[xii] Malen P.L., Chapman P.F. “Nitric Oxide Facilitates Long-Term Potentiation, But Not Long-Term Depression” The Journal of Neuroscience, 1 April 1997, 17(7): 2645-2651; (source)

[xiii] Poschel B.P., Ho P.M., Ninteman F.W. “Arousal deficit shown in aged rat’s quantitative EEG and ameliorative action of pramiracetam compared to piracetam.” Experientia. 1985 Nov 15;41(11):1433-5. (source)

[xiv] De Vreese L.P., Neri M., Boiardi R., Ferrari P., Belloi L., Salvioli G. “Memory training and drug therapy act differently on memory and metamemory functioning: evidence from a pilot study.” Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 1996;22 Suppl 1:9-22. (source)

[xv] McLean A. Jr., Cardenas D.D., Burgess D., Gamzu E. “Placebo-controlled study of pramiracetam in young males with memory and cognitive problems resulting from head injury and anoxia.” Brain Injury. 1991 Oct-Dec;5(4):375-80. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 73 comments

July 15, 2023

Hi, I am a content creator on youtube and I need to find nootropics that can help with increasing productivity and most importantly increasing creativity in order to aid me in thinking of new and creative video ideas.

I heard that pramiracetam might actually make you overly logical, is that true? Would this mean it’s bad for creativity unlike what you said in the article about it increasing theta brain waves?
Also I heard that psilocybin can increase creativity even a year after you take it based on the OCEAN big five personality traits test where people rate how much they like listening to or creating music, literature, or art

Thanks for answering.

    David Tomen
    July 17, 2023

    Michael, scroll up and read the sections “How does Pramiracetam feel?” Likely not what you are looking for. And I haven’t done the research on psilocybin so cannot comment on it. But L-Theanine increases Alpha and Theta brain waves for alert relaxation and creativity.

Raoul Ottenthal
June 30, 2023

Greetings David,
I was planning on taking Pramiracetam together with Alpha GPC as recommended. But I am unsure how much Alpha GPC I need to supplement together with a dose of lets say 500mg of Pramiracetam, to get the full benefit of this Nootropic. Is there a ratio or rule of thumb you can give me on this matter?

Kind Regards and thank you for your research,

    David Tomen
    July 2, 2023

    Raoul, try the normal dose of 300 mg CDP-Choline or Alpha GPC with each dose. If that is not enough then use two capsules of the choline supplement each time.

April 15, 2023

Hi David,
Can MB be stacked with racetams?


    David Tomen
    April 18, 2023

    Mark, yes if it works for you.

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