Piracetam is a chemical that is made in a lab. In some countries in Europe it is used as a drug to improve memory and brain function. In the United States, some manufacturers sell piracetam as a dietary supplement. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider piracetam to be a legal dietary supplement.
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.
Piracetam is a chemical that is thought to help cells in the brain and blood vessels to function better. During aging and in some kinds of diseases, the membrane that surrounds cells starts to get stiff. Cells with a stiff membrane do not function as well. Some scientists think that piracetam helps maintain the membrane that surrounds cells so that they continue to function well.