Aniracetam is a supplement used to stimulate alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors in the brain. It is also known as Draganon, Sarpul and Ampamet. Chemically, it is a member of the racetam class of compounds, which have a pyrrolidone nucleus at their core.
This compound is sold in Europe as a prescription drug, and in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is considered a nootropic compound, which means that it is intended to increase mental function. Nootropic drugs are also known as cognition enhancers. The mechanism of action for aniracetam is unknown, but clinical trials of the drug on animals have shown it to have anti-anxiety, or anxiolytic, effects. These claims have not been verified by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Aniracetam is similar in structure and function to the compound piracetam, but aniracetam has a far higher fat solubility. This means that it has a greater ability to pentrate the brain via the blood-brain barrier, and, as a result, has longer lasting effects. Both drugs have been used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, and both have a low toxicity. Aniracetam is considered to be three to ten times as potent as piracetam.
The daily recommended dose of this supplement is between 750 and 3,000 milligrams (mg). This drug can be taken in one large dose or two smaller doses over the course of a day. It may cause side effects, such as headaches and nausea.
Aniracetam is the parent drug of all manufactured compounds that affect the AMPA receptors, which are known as ampakines. These substances increase attention span and alertness, in addition to enhancing memory. Ampakines are considered stimulants, but do not produce the same kind of side effects as other stimulants, like caffeine and Ritalin™, after prolonged use.
Ampakines have been investigated as potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A 2006 study showed these compounds have a persistent effect, even after being expelled from the body. Both memory and cognition also continued to improve in test subjects, even in the absence of ampakines.
The most prominent manufacturer of ampakines is Cortex Pharmaceuticals, which owns patents for many of the medical uses of this class of drugs. Two of their most popular brands include Ampalex™ and Farampator™. Since the beginning of their development program, the potency of these drugs has increased fivefold. Other companies have also developed aniracetam-based ampakines, but they are used in animal trials.