Oxiracetam (4-hydroxy-2-oxopyrrolidinoacetamide) is a nootropic compound that shows much promise in boosting cognition in healthy individuals. Mochizuki, Sugiyama, and Shinoda (1992) have shown that oxiracetam enhances choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity in the hippocampus of rats, suggesting the nootropics affect may be with the brain’s precholinergic systems. Both increased acetylcholine and glutamate levels have been found within the hippocampus specifically, following oxiracetam administration, which are closely linked to learning and memory (Marchi et al., 1990; Riedel et al., 2003; Giovannini et al., 1993). More so, oxiracetam increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content within astrocytes promoting improvement in cell functionality (Gabryel et al., 1999).

Benefits and Effects

  • Counteracts neurotoxicity and may sustain sociality following toxin exposure in animal models (Hliňák & Krejčí, 2005);
  • Reduces deficits of neural plasticity associated with brain trauma and subsequently improves learning, memory, and spatial intelligence compared to control (Zhang & Zhang, 2005; Ji, 2006; Yangfeng, 2006; Li et al., 2013; Yao, 2016);
  • May prevent down-regulation of BDNF following brain trauma (Yao, 2016);
  • Increases cognitive performance following decline due to high-altitude (Hu, 2017);
  • Evidence suggests can improve cognitive functioning in those with schizophrenia (Han et al., 2012; Gu et al., 2012);
  • Promotes recovery from vascular impairment such as vascular dementia (You & Ji-feng, 2011; Han et al., 2012; Min et al., 2012);
  • Found ineffective in improving cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer’s disease (Green et al., 1992)
  • Contrastingly, in another study was found effective at improving memory, attention, orientation, and concentration with dementia of Alzheimer’s type (Parnetti et al., 1989).
  • Shows promise in reducing deficits associated with cognitive decline during later stages of life, specifically with the ability to process information (Green et al., 1992);
  • In a study on humans with mild cognitive decline, oxiracetam was shown to boost cognitive ability (Li, 2015);
  • Improves learning and memory in animal subjects (Mondadori et al., 1986).


1200 to 2400mg spread out over the day in two or three doses

Onset: 15 to 30 minutes

Duration: 4 to 6 hours (Tripsit, n.d.).

Well tolerated at high doses (Zhu et al., 2011).


Gabryel, B., Trzeciak, H. I., Pudełko, A., & Cieślik, P. (1999). Influence of piracetam and oxiracetam on the content of high-energy phosphates and morphometry of astrocytes in vitro. Polish journal of pharmacology, 51(6), 485-495.

Giovannini, M. G., Rodinò, P., Mutolo, D., & Pepeu, G. (1993). Oxiracetam and aniracetam increase acetylcholine release from the rat hippocampus in vivo. Drug development research, 28(4), 503-509. Doi: 10.1002/ddr.430280409

Green, R. C., Goldstein, F. C., Auchus, A. P., Presley, R., Clark, W. S., Van Tuyl, L., … & Karp, H. R. (1992). Treatment trial of oxiracetam in Alzheimer’s disease. Archives of neurology, 49(11), 1135-1136. Doi: 10.1001/archneur.1992.00530350049018

GU, P., WANG, J., & LI, B. (2012). Effect of oxiracetam adjunctive treatment with quetiapine on cognitive impairments in aged patients with schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatry, 2, 009.

HAN, Y., LIU, Q. R., LI, L. Y., SHI, X., & WANG, J. L. (2012). Clinical effects of oxiracetam for treatment of vascular cognitive impairment in varying degree. Acta Universitatis Medicinalis Nanjing (Natural Science), 6, 025.

HAN, X. L., WAN, Z. Y., & WU, M. C. (2012). Clinic observation of Oxiracetam in treatment of schizophrenia with cognitive dysfunction.

Hu, S., Shi, J., Xiong, W., Li, W., Fang, L., & Feng, H. (2017). Oxiracetam or fastigial nucleus stimulation reduces cognitive injury at high altitude. Brain and behavior, 7(10), e00762. Doi: 10.1002/brb3.762

Hliňák, Z., & Krejčí, I. (2005). Oxiracetam pre-but not post-treatment prevented social recognition deficits produced with trimethyltin in rats. Behavioural brain research, 161(2), 213-219. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2005.02.030

Ji, Z. H. U. (2006). Clinical study of oxiracetam for mild or medium brain injury [J]. Acta Academiae Medicinae Militaris Tertiae, 10, 045.

Li, J. W., Yang, D. J., Chen, X. Y., & Liang, H. Q. (2013). Protective effect of oxiracetam on traumatic brain injury in rats. Zhongguo ying yong sheng li xue za zhi= Zhongguo yingyong shenglixue zazhi= Chinese journal of applied physiology, 29(4), 298-300.

Li, J. (2015). Safety and efficacy of oxiracetam for mild cognitive impairment. Evaluation and Analysis of Drug-Use in Hospitals of China, 15(6), 753-755.

Marchi, M., Besana, E., & Raiteri, M. (1990). Oxiracetam increases the release of endogenous glutamate from depolarized rat hippocampal slices. Eur J Pharmacol, 185(2-3), 247-249.

Min, C., Xin, L., Yufang, Z., Ting, W., & Changqing, L. (2012). Efficacy of combiration therapy with Kingtag and Oxiracetam for the patients with vascular cognitive impairment [J]. Chongqing Medicine, 22, 015.

Mochizuki, D., Sugiyama, S., & Shinoda, Y. (1992). Biochemical studies of oxiracetam (CT-848) on cholinergic neurons. Nihon yakurigaku zasshi. Folia pharmacologica Japonica, 99(1), 27-35.

Mondadori, C., Classen, W., Borkowski, J., Ducret, T., Buerki, H., & Schadé, A. (1986). Effects of oxiracetam on learning and memory in animals: comparison with piracetam. Clinical neuropharmacology, 9, S27-38.

Parnetti, L., Mecocci, P., Petrini, A., Longo, A., Buccolieri, A., & Senin, U. (1989). Neuropsychological results of long-term therapy with oxiracetam in patients with dementia of Alzheimer type and multi-infarct dementia in comparison with a control groupNeuropsychobiology22(2), 97-100. Doi: 10.1159/000118599

Riedel, G., Platt, B., & Micheau, J. (2003). Glutamate receptor function in learning and memory. Behavioural brain research, 140(1-2), 1-47.

Tripsit. (n.d.). Oxiracetam. Retrieved from

Yanfeng, X. I. E. (2006). Clinical study on effect of oxiracetam on mild and moderate brain injury. Journal of Chongqing Medical University, 1, 030.

Yao, X. L., Yao, Z. H., Li, L., Nie, L., & Zhang, S. F. (2016). Oxiracetam can improve cognitive impairment after chronic cerebral hypoperfusion in rats. Psychiatry research, 246, 284-292. Doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.10.006

You, L., & Ji-feng, W. (2011). Clinical Effect of Oxiracetam on Treatment of Vascular Dementia in 80 Patients [J]. Chinese Journal of Medicinal Guide, 2, 052.

ZHANG, K., HOU, Y. Z., & ZHANG, J. G. (2005). Clinical Study of Curative Effect of Oxiracetam Injection on Brain Injury. Chinese Journal of Clinical Neurosurgery, 2, 012.

ZHU, R., WAN, S., YAN, M., HU, J. C., WANG, F., PENG, W. X., … & LI, H. D. (2011). Pharmacokinetics of oxiracetam for injection in Chinese healthy volunteers. Cent South Pharm, 9(9), 651.

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