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Nootropics: what is it, mechanism and effect of action

Nootropics are psychotropic drugs that improve the metabolic processes of the brain, stabilize blood circulation in its cavities, increasing its resistance to external influences (fatigue, toxins, oxygen starvation, etc.).

Improve the performance of higher mental abilities of brain activity (improve memory, perception, thinking, speech).

Nootropic drugs are used to treat patients with problems in the field of neuralgia. For rehabilitation after stroke and heart attack, treatment of patients with epilepsy, or Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia).

On methods of rehabilitation after a stroke, read this article.

The list of drugs in this group contains substances that help protect the brain from damage and stimulate nerve cells to restore them to the level of healthy people.

Nootropic remedy, what is it?

The concept of “nootropic drug” was first introduced in the last century by Belgian pharmacologists.

Nootropics are neurometabolic stimulants that activate metabolic processes in the brain, increasing its overall resistance to extreme situations and influences.

A distinctive factor from psychostimulants is that nootropics are antihypoxants (they resist oxygen starvation of the brain), but do not adversely affect the human body, do not lead to malfunction of the brain, do not violate the coordination of movements.

In terms of effectiveness, nootropics do not have a hypnotic or analgesic effect on the human body.

Drugs in this group are often of interest to students and people who experience strong intellectual or stressful workings, since the instructions state that the drugs contribute to a better assimilation of information, quick thinking, improvements in studies and smooth out the effect on the brain during stress and mental loads.

In pharmacology, there is one division of nootropics, in two groups:

  • True Nootropics, whose main task is to improve memory and speech. These pills improve brain function and are not responsible for other body processes;
  • Neuroprotectors – medicines that relax the muscles, relieve tension, counteract oxygen starvation and seizures, soothe the nerve cells of the brain. A complete classification of nootropic drugs is not reserved, since they are not universally recognized as medical drugs.

What pharmacological group are they?

Nootropic drugs belong to the nootropic group, and they are assigned in pharmacology under the coding (ATH code: N06BX).

The first drug group of nootropic drugs is Piracetam.

It was opened in 1963, and gave a start to their development. Nootrope became the main competitor of psychostimulants, since the side effects of it were not so serious.

Nootropic therapy does not cause addiction, toxic damage, excitement and exhaustion of the body, inherent psychostimulants. In the initial stages of the development of the drug, it was used to treat brain function impairment in the elderly.

Fact! In modern pharmacology, Piracetam is listed as Nootropil.

The table lists the drugs that are most often prescribed in the treatment of nootropics.

The mechanism of action of nootropics

Most drugs of the group of nootropics affect neurotransmitters (substances that promote the interaction of nerve cells with each other).

Nootropic therapy affects acetylcholine (neuromuscular transmission), serotonin (happiness hormone), dopamine (the precursor of norepinephrine, is a necessary part of the brain’s “reward system” because it stimulates the sense of pleasure, which affects the processes of motivation and learning) and noradrenaline ( one of the most important “wakefulness mediators”).

Modern nootropics improve the joint work of the left and right hemispheres, and the main cents, localized in the cerebral cortex.

Nootropic effect can prolong life and rejuvenate the body.

Also, these drugs protect the nerve cells from deformation and eliminate oxygen starvation, stimulate metabolic processes and simply improve blood circulation in the brain tissues.

Different drugs of the nootropic group can have different effects on the body, it all depends on the group to which the medicine belongs.

Among them:

Fact! To initiate biochemical processes in the brain, it can take from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, depending on the drug used. This explains the fact that nootropics are applied by courses.

Drinking pills just before the loads on the brain does not make sense, use should be started in about a month.

What effect do nootropics have?

The impact on the above mechanisms in the brain makes it possible to conclude that the following positive effects on the organism and its systems turn out to be:

  • Vegetative effect characterized by the acceleration of blood circulation and the elimination of the main signs of neurocircular dystonia;
  • Antihypoxic action due to the formation of increased resistance of brain cells to oxygen starvation;
  • Antidepressant action. Separate nootropics are prescribed for depression, and are aimed at countering it;
  • Psychostimulating action due to the stimulation of the functioning of the brain in people with mental disorders suffering from apathy, motor retardation;
  • Antiepileptic action it is characterized by the fact that it prevents convulsions, confusion and its complete loss, as well as the prevention of behavioral disorders and the vegetative system;
  • Action with a sedative effect characterized by a calming effect;
  • Nootropic action sent to the stimulation of cognitive activity;
  • Antitoxic actione is the neutralization or elimination of toxins from the human body;
  • Adaptogenic effect due to the development of body resistance to the influence of negative factors;
  • Immunostimulating action characterized by strengthening the immune system and increasing the overall resistance of the body;
  • Lipolytic action due to the use of fatty acids as an energy source.

Note! Nootropics, in most cases, are prescribed for the elderly and children.

This is explained by the fact that in old age it is necessary to correct the deviations of the functionality of intellectual activity (memory, attention). Appointment in childhood occurs when dealing with violations of the intellectual development of the child.

Is it dangerous to be treated with nootropics and are they harmful?

The consequences of the use of nootropics can be from headaches and dizziness to over-stimulation of the nervous system.

But since they are not pathologically dangerous, almost any patient can be assigned a catalog of drugs.

The most serious and common side effect is withdrawal.

It can occur with a sharp cessation of the use of drugs, which leads to the suffering of the body.

The most common manifestations of it can be headaches, lethargy, aggressiveness, loss of sleep, dizziness, etc. That is why the termination of the course of treatment occurs with a gradual decrease in the use of drugs.

The main side effects observed with nootropics are listed below:

  • Excessive excitability;
  • Feeling weak;
  • Sleep disturbances;
  • Restlessness;
  • Fever;
  • Convulsive and epileptic seizures;
  • Loss of balance;
  • Nephrotoxicity;
  • Bouts of angina, which recur frequently;
  • Ataxia;
  • Impairment of consciousness;
  • Heat in the face;
  • Rash on face and body;
  • Eosinophilia.

Indications for use of nootropics

The main indications of prescription that are related to nootropics and their therapy are as follows:

  • Psychoorganic syndrome is a large group of diseases in which the thinning of nerve tissue is manifested. Such diseases include neuroinfection, parkinsonism, stroke caused by ischemia, cerebral palsy, dementia of various origins;
  • Excessive and persistent drinking;
  • Drug use;
  • Sickle cell anemia (change in the shape of red blood cells from oval to sickle);
  • Disruptions in the urination system neurogenic nature;
  • Disruptions in the vegetative system;
  • Correction of neuroleptic syndrome;
  • The use of other drugs in the complex in the treatment of ophthalmology;
  • Neurotic disorders;
  • The general weakness of an organism of organic, or neurotic origin;
  • Chronic mental disorders;
  • Chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency.

Contraindications to the use of nootropics are:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke;
  • Severe pathology of the kidneys;
  • Period of carrying and feeding the child;
  • Kidney or liver failure;
  • Clearly manifested psychomotor agitation;
  • Sensitivity to the active ingredients of the drug.

Most common nootropics

Nootropic therapy medicines are divided into groups of the new and old generation. The latter include drugs that have been opened for a very long time, even at the start of neurostimulators.

These are production forms from Piracetam.

These drugs are:

  • Pramiracetam;
  • Aniracetam;
  • Oxyracetam;
  • Izatsetam;
  • Etiracetam;
  • Detiracetam;
  • Nefiracetam.

After the nineties of the twentieth century, there was a new milestone in the history of the development of nootropics. New drugs are different selective action on individual body functions.

The most frequently prescribed drugs of the new generation are:

  • Pantogam – the most effective nootropic agent, often used for treatment in children. The main active ingredient is vitamin B15, which is found in almost all plant substances;
  • Phenibut appointed when the state of general weakness, neurosis, sleep disorders and abnormalities in the normal operation of the vestibular apparatus. Phenibut interaction helps children overcome stuttering and various tics. This drug leads to normal metabolism, stimulates mental processes (memory, attention, etc.), and also has an antioxidant effect. This drug contains almost no toxins and does not cause allergies;
  • Fezam It is a nootropic compound prescribed in combination with other drugs in case of failure of blood circulation in the brain cavity. This drug eliminates the effects of oxygen starvation, helps with headaches, migraines, dizziness and memory loss. Long courses of treatment are prescribed for stroke, head injuries and inflammation of the membranes and tissues of the brain;
  • Piracetam It is a classic remedy prescribed to improve the metabolic processes in the brain. Effectively treats dizziness, improves memory, and treats encephalopathy in childhood. The drug quickly removes the negative effects of excessive use of alcoholic beverages. It is used for neuroinfections of the viral type and as one of the preparations for recovery after the death of the tissue of the cardiac muscle. The drug is sold both in tablets and in ampoules, solutions, syrups and capsules, which helps to choose the most convenient form of use;
  • Cinnarazine – a drug of the nootropic group, which helps to expand the walls of the brain vessels and helps to increase their size without disturbing blood pressure indicators. Nootropil cinnarizine is an effective drug against motion sickness, as well as suppression of nystagmus. The drug helps to arrest increased pressure, a sensation of tinnitus, general weakness, pain in the head, restores normal sleep, removes aggressiveness, etc .;
  • Actovegin – a drug of the group of nootropics, aimed at combating oxygen starvation of the brain, restoring metabolic processes, and contributing to the rapid healing of wounds. The drug is available in tablets and in the form of ointment or cream;
  • Cerebrolysin is a nootropic used in combination with other drugs. This drug has passed all tests, and confirmed its safety and efficacy. Stimulates mental activity and improves mood. Prolonged use of the drug improves memory processes, increases concentration and the ability to learn.

What actions will help to recover faster and keep the body normal?

Preventive actions in order to avoid the use of nootropics are:

  • Observance of the day regimen with proper rest and sleep (at least 8 hours);
  • Proper nutrition should be balanced and versatile, with a large amount of vitamins and nutrients;
  • Maintaining the water balance (at least 1.5 liters of clean water per day) will help the blood not to thicken and circulate normally;
  • Avoid stressful situations, psychoemotional and intellectual overload;
  • Give up smoking, alcohol and drugs;
  • Take a full examination once a year.


Nootropic drugs are effective means used to improve the functioning of brain processes.

It is especially effective to take them in courses, in advance of intellectual, or psycho-emotional stress.

A wide range of drugs and a small chance of side effects, makes drugs available and effective. In order to avoid burdens, it is better to consult with a qualified doctor.


Nikolai, 22 years old.

I study programming at the institute. I read about the beneficial effects of the drug and purchased the Ginkgo Biloba.

I did not become a genius, but the processes of memorization and attention increased. This effect I sought.

Marina, 28

She took nootropics to stimulate intellectual activity, since she has to work with large amounts of information. Phenotropil – the best tool, helped very well, there is arousal, the desire to work and learn.

Alina, 41

I accept nootropes as prescribed by a doctor, said well at my age to stimulate the brain’s metabolic processes. I thought for a long time which is better to take, but I consulted with a doctor.

Appointed the latest generation of nootropics, price-quality match. I feel much more active.

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