Piracetam is most commonly used for breath-holding attacks, seizure disorder (epilepsy), dizziness (vertigo), a learning disorder marked by difficulty reading (dyslexia), and a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). It is also used for dementia, schizophrenia, sickle cell disease, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Breath-holding attacks. Some research shows that taking piracetam for 2-3 months helps to reduce breath-holding spells in young children.
- Surgery to improve blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery). Most available research shows that giving a single dose of piracetam by injection (IV) or by mouth around the time of CABG surgery helps with memory recall after surgery.
- A learning disorder marked by difficulty reading (dyslexia). Most early research shows that taking piracetam for at least 12 weeks improves some reading skills in children aged 7-14 years with dyslexia.
- Seizure disorder (epilepsy). Most available research shows that taking piracetam reduces some symptoms of epilepsy in some patients who are also taking antiseizure drugs. But not all research agrees on which symptoms are improved by piracetam.
- A movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). Some research shows that symptoms of tardive dyskinesia improve in some people when piracetam is taken by mouth or given with a needle.
- Dizziness (vertigo). Some research shows that giving piracetam intravenously (by IV) decreases feelings of dizziness in people with vertigo. Taking piracetam by mouth for one week also seems to be helpful for reducing vertigo symptoms in people with acute vertigo. In people with chronic vertigo, taking piracetam by mouth might reduce the number of vertigo spells. But it doesn't seem to make the spells less severe.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Alzheimer disease. Early research shows that taking piracetam does not improve mental function in people with Alzheimer disease.
- Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Early research shows that taking piracetam three times daily might improve memory loss with aging in some people.
- Autism. Early research shows that taking piracetam with a medication called risperidone helps improve some symptoms of autism in children.
- Cocaine use disorder. Early research shows that taking piracetam does not help with cocaine addiction. In some people, it might even increase cocaine use.
- Dementia. Early research shows that taking piracetam might improve memory loss in some patients with dementia.
- Down syndrome. Early research shows that taking piracetam does not help children with Down syndrome. In some children, aggression and irritability might increase.
- Memory. Early research shows that taking piracetam does not improve memory loss in people who have had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
- Parkinson disease. Early research shows that taking piracetam does not improve symptoms of Parkinson disease.
- Recovery after surgery. Early research shows that giving a single dose of piracetam by injection (IV) does not improve memory in people who have had open heart surgery.
- Schizophrenia. Early research shows that taking piracetam with a medication called haloperidol reduces some symptoms of schizophrenia. But it's not clear if it is beneficial when taken with the newer, more effective drugs used for schizophrenia.
- Sickle cell disease. Some early research shows that taking piracetam might reduce the severity of symptoms in children with sickle cell disease. However, not all research agrees. Doctors do not recommend piracetam for sickle cell disease.
- Stroke. Some early research shows that taking piracetam might prevent a second stroke. One study also shows that certain groups of people with a stroke might benefit more from piracetam than others. But overall, piracetam doesn't seem to prevent death, improve function, or improve speaking ability following a stroke. In fact, piracetam might increase the risk for death in patients with the most severe symptoms of stroke.
- Hearing loss.
- Other uses.
When given by IV: Piracetam is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by IV by a healthcare professional.
Special Precautions and Warnings
When given by IV: Piracetam is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by IV by a healthcare professional. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if piracetam is safe to use when pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: Piracetam is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth under the supervision of a medical professional.
Cocaine use disorder: Piracetam seems to increase cocaine use in people who are addicted to cocaine and are trying to quit. Until more is known, do not use piracetam if you have cocaine use disorder.
Epilepsy: Stopping piracetam or decreasing the dose of piracetam might increase the number of seizures in people with epilepsy. If you have epilepsy, use piracetam only under the care of a doctor.
Huntington disease: Piracetam seems to increase symptoms in people with Huntington disease. Until more is known, do not use piracetam if you have Huntington disease.
Kidney problems: Piracetam is removed from the body by the kidneys. Talk to a healthcare provider before using piracetam if you have kidney problems.
Surgery: Piracetam might slow blood clotting. This might result in too much bleeding if it is used before surgery. Stop taking piracetam at least 2 weeks before surgery.
Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with PIRACETAM
Piracetam might slow blood clotting. Taking piracetam along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
Do not take this combination
- For surgery to improve blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery): Piracetam 12 grams daily for 6 weeks, starting on day 6 after surgery.
- For seizure disorder (epilepsy): Piracetam 9.6-24 grams daily for up to 18 months.
- For a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia): Piracetam 2.4 grams twice daily for 4 weeks.
- For vertigo: Piracetam 800 mg three times daily for 1-8 weeks.
- For surgery to improve blood flow to the heart (CABG surgery): Piracetam 12 grams administered by a healthcare professional as a single dose. Piracetam 12 grams, administered by a healthcare professional daily from the day before surgery to 6 days after surgery.
- For a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia): Piracetam 8-24 grams daily administered by a healthcare professional.
- For vertigo: Piracetam 1-2 grams administered by a healthcare professional as a single dose.
- For breath-holding attacks: Piracetam 40 mg/kg daily for 2-3 months in children 6-36 months of age.
- For dyslexia: Piracetam 3.3 grams daily for at least 12 weeks in children aged 7-14 years.
CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.
This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.