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 ?
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.