Aniracetam is a drug supplement that has been introduced in the 1970s for its ability to stimulate the AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) receptors of the brain. Historically, it was first developed by Hoffman-La Roche and was later introduced as purportedly a more potent nootropic agent than the pioneering discovery of piracetam.
Since aniracetam has the ability to fuel the AMPA receptors, it was later identified as an ampakine nootropic. As such, trials and researches were undertaken to uncover its effects on the human body. These early and recent trials revealed that it has various possible effects one of which is its potential anxiolytic effects.
Due to the numerous potential positive effects of aniracetam, it was approved in Europe as a prescribed drug for Alzheimer’s disease. It was also used and prescribed in Japan for a span of eight years as a treatment for emotional disturbances including anxiety, depression and agitation. However, it was removed from the Japanese market because of the recent study result in which aniracetam treatment was not able to achieve its claimed results. With these conflicting results, it was not approved by the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) .
Aniracetam is a derivative of piracetam. As such, both share a similar chemical structure comparable to other nootropic agents with 5 carbon oxo-pyrrilodine ring.
[msgbox]IUPAC/ Chemical Name: l-p-anisoyl-2-pyrrolidinone
Chemical Formula: C12H13NO3
Chemical Property: Crystalline solid
Usage: Nootropic agent, cognition enhancer[/msgbox]
Mechanism of action:
To date, the modes of action of this particular nootropic agent is yet to be revealed . Nevertheless, early and recent reports showed that aniracetam improves the efficacy of synapses through facilitating activated energy metabolism and long term potentiation by increasing energy production. Additionally, experts suggest that it acts as a modulator of glutamatergic neurotransmission and cholinergic mechanisms.
Cholinergic neurotransmission is said to be facilitated through the activation of N-anisoyl-GABA, p-anisic acid and other metabolizes. As such, aniracetam may activate the reticulothalamic cholinergic pathway consequentially increasing choline acetyltransferase. Aniracetam will then be able to rectify the cholinergic neurotransmission system from cell death  .
Other than its cholinergic mechanism, aniracetam is also known for its glutamatergic neurotransmission capabilities. It has the ability to indirectly increase the release of acetylcholine and bind to the AMPA receptors, thereby increasing oxidation .
Benefits of aniracetam
Aniracetam is considered to be a novel therapeutic treatment for various cerebral dysfunctional disorders. Past studies using animals as subjects were able to demonstrate its safety and efficacy in treating cognitive impairment, emotional problems, sleep disturbances and other behavioral problems. As such, various clinical trials were undertaken to discover its effects on humans .
Visual hallucination improvement
One of the proposed benefits from aniracetam is its anti-visual hallucination effects. To study this, researchers administered aniracetam to elderly individuals aged 75 to 80 years diagnosed with diffuse Levy body disease and Parkinson’s disease. After the treatment, evaluation of results revealed that visual hallucination amongst these patients improved markedly. Additionally, there were no adverse effects observed after aniracetam use. It was therefore concluded that aniracetam is an effective anti-visual hallucination treatment without causing any adverse reactions even after high dosage treatment .
Dementia is becoming an increasingly prevalent cognitive problem with serious implications. As such, the efficacy of aniracetam, a known nootropic compound with neuroprotective potential and glutamatergic mechanisms was evaluated upon use against dementia. It was then administered to individuals with cognitive disorders. Findings indicated that it is a promising treatment option for individuals suffering from mild cognitive deficit. Results further revealed that it has the potential to preserve all known neuropsychological parameters whilst improve emotional stability amongst demented patients .
Effects of aniracetam in dementia was further studied on a double blind trial in which 44 individuals diagnosed with senile dementia Alzheimer’s type were administered with aniracetam for 3 months. Results of this particular study revealed that memory improvement was achieved upon aniracetam use .
Other than its ability to improve demented individuals and ability to treat visual hallucination, aniracetam can be useful against insomnia as well. A group of researchers convened to study the effects of this particular nootropic agent on treating insomnia by combining it with Zopiclone. This combination drug therapy was administered to nine individuals diagnosed with insomnia associated with non-cerebrovascular and cerebrovascular problems. Evaluation of results revealed that 78% of the participants reported that this combination therapy is effective in prolonging sleeping .
Alzheimer’s disease treatment
The purported effects of nootropic agents particularly aniracetam, dihydroergicristine, nimrod opine and paracetamol extended to their ability to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Its efficacy was then compared to acetylcholine stares inhibitors. The results showed that there were no strong evidence of efficacy differences between the cognitive enhances. Nevertheless, this study was able to prove that nootropic agents can significantly improve cognition amongst individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease .
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive Supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a rare degenerative disorder which presents symptoms not limited to dementia, nuchal dystopia, Parkinsonism and vertical gaze palsy. It is primarily treated with doses of levodopa, noradrenaline precursors, droid opt, tricyclics antidepressants and anti-cholinergic drugs. As aniracetam has anti cholinergic properties, it was administered to 2 patients diagnosed with PSP. in this particular study, it was revealed that aniracetam was able to improve motor function, body balance, intellectual functions and volition .
The pharmacodynamics of aniracetam is largely unknown. It may be effective on treating the above mentioned neurological and cerebrovascular disorders. Nevertheless, usage should still be subjected to physician’s approval. Caution upon use should be observed as this drug supplement further requires researches and trials with larger population of participants.
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