Phenotropil (also known as Phenylpiracetam or Carphedon) – one of the most controversial smart drugs. The drug was developed in early 1983, at the Russian Institute of Space Biology and Medicine. It was designed to help astronauts increase their working performance. The result of those researches was Phenotropil (Nanotropil), a nootropic drug that about 30-60 times stronger than Piracetam (at the same dosage, of course), with a stimulant effect similar to modafinil.
Usage of Phenotropil
Phenotropil used primarily as an antiasthenic drug. The term “asthenia” is widely-used in Russian clinical practice. It is comparable to chronic fatigue syndrome that means general weakness, lack of mental and physical energy and sometimes narcolepsy. In that case, Phenotropil can help CFS sufferers to get back to normal life and restore their emotional energy. Several clinical trials done in asthenic people showed its effectiveness. For example, placebo-controlled trial of Phenylpiracetam done on 180 patients with chronic fatigue showed 87.5% treatment efficiency.
Similar results were obtained on the asthenic adolescents. 30 days long monotherapy with Phenotropil improved their memory, attention, and cognitive functions, as well as cerebral blood flow. Standard treatment combined with Piracetam was less effective.
Another official indication for use is organic brain syndrome followed by attention and memory deficits. This includes traumatic brain injuries, hypoxia, and ischemic stroke. However, Phenylpiracetam is less commonly used in the treatment of severe brain injuries like ischemia, compared to Piracetam or Cortexin. Most studies of this substance were done on chronic fatigue sufferers.
Less common usages of Phenotropil include:
- Glaucoma. Some studies suggest that Phenylpiracetam can increase visual field and improve color perception of the patients with Glaucoma.
- Weight loss. It may seem strange and irrelevant, but obesity is one of the indications for use listed in the official drug instruction. Just like many other drugs with stimulatory effect, Phenotropil has some anorexigenic effect and suppress appetite, especially after prolonged usage. So if you don’t want to lose weight, it is not recommended to take Phenylpiracetam long term, or if you do, make sure to eat well.
Phenotropil can be used by healthy adults as well, to improve cognitive functions impaired by stressful work and fatigue. Several clinical trials were done on healthy people (soldiers, pilots, and athletes) with some positive results. One of the main benefits of this Nootropic is the fast stimulatory effect. So, it is possible to use Phenotropil as Modafinil alternative to staying awake and alert when you need.
How does Phenotropil work
Phenotropil is derivative of pyrrolidone, just like Piracetam. As you can see from the name, it’s a Piracetam with a phenyl group attached. That determines the difference in pharmacological activity of these Nootropics. It remains to understand how the phenyl group works, and especially how it works in conjunction with Piracetam.
Phenyl group significantly enhance the ability of Phenotropil to pass through the blood-brain barrier (it’s a filter that protects your brain from harmful substances). Phenylpiracetam passes through the blood-brain barrier much better than Piracetam.
Some people may think that if Phenotropil 60 times stronger than Piracetam, then larger racetam doses can get the same effect, but it’s wrong. Phenylpiracetam listed on the doping list because of its partial amphetamine-like action. No, it’s not an illegal amphetamine drug. But it has some stimulating effect.
Mechanism of action is not entirely understood yet. Phenotropil increase dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain, thus having an effect on the mood. Does not affect GABA levels, not binds to GABA receptors. It also improves glucose metabolism in the brain and stimulates cerebral blood flow. Phenylpiracetam does interact with cholinergic receptors, and increase NMDA receptors concentration.
If this drug listed as doping, it is logical to assume that it is effective. Phenotropil has pronounced stimulatory effect that you will start feeling within few hours after taking it. This includes concentration and attention increase, increased performance (both physical and mental) and motivation boost. In addition to short-term stimulation, during long-term usage, you’ll get the benefits of nootropic effects similar to Piracetam.
Other possible effects reported by users include euphoric feeling, cold tolerance increase and improvement of color perception.
A most common side effect of Phenylpiracetam is insomnia. That’s why it is recommended to take it before 3 Pm. Some people may experience the opposite effect while taking Phenotropil – excessive sleepiness.
The next side effects are pretty common to all stimulants: impulsivity, irritability, and anxious mood. Also, Phenotropil may cause hypertension (increased blood pressure) and skin redness.
So it is better to start with the lower dosage, just like with any other Nootropic. If you experienced side effects and it outweighs the benefits, it’s better to stop taking it. However, according to data from clinical trials, adverse effects may disappear within two weeks without ceasing the treatment.
Summing this up, side effects include:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Skin redness.
The dosage suggested by the official instruction is 100-300mg daily, depending on your condition and body mass. If you take up to 100mg daily, take it in the morning. Everything above 100mg should be split into two doses. Do not take Phenotropil later than 3 PM to avoid problems with falling asleep. Maximum allowed daily dosage is 750mg.
The length of the course is from two weeks for up to three months. You can cycle Phenotropil again after a month. Phenylpiracetam does not form tolerance, addiction and does not cause withdrawal. Of course, the immediate stimulating effect may become less pronounced during long-term usage, but you’ll still benefit from nootropic effect. This includes mood enhancing, anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effects, as well as concentration increase.
According to clinical trials on asthenic people, the common length of treatment is one month with 100-200mg of Phenotropil daily to treat chronic fatigue and depression. In clinical trials performed on healthy people, to increase physical and mental performance, the dosage was 200-400mg daily for 3-14 days.
Phenotropil is a great combination of Piracetam-like nootropic and stimulant which effects are comparable to modafinil. Besides short-term stimulation, you get long-term nootropic effects as well. The most common and efficient usage are the treatment of chronic fatigue. It is more expensive than Piracetam, but the effective dosage is significantly less, so the price per serving is almost the same.
The downside is that Phenylpiracetam banned by world anti-doping agency, so it does not fit professional athletes. You can experience side effects as well, which include irritability and sleep disturbance. Also, the immediate stimulating effect becomes less pronounced if you take this Nootropic more than 2-3 days weekly.
- Kovalev G.I, Akhapkina V.I, Abaimov D.A, Firstova U.U “Fenotropil as receptor modulator of synaptic neurotransmission.”
- Korolenok A.V, Zolotukhina S.F “Pharmacological correction of the functional state of the extreme professions representatives by nootropic agents.”
- Afanasov V.S, Ivashev M.N, Sergienko A.V “Phenotropil restore color perception.”
- Akhapkina V.I, Fedin A.I, Avedisova A.S “Phenotropil efficiency in the treatment of asthenia and chronic fatigue syndrome.”
- Zvonareva E.V “Phenotropil in the treatment of cognitive disorders in asthenic adolescents.”
- Aleshina N.V, Stepanov V.P, Philippova S.U “Usage of Phenotropil in the treatment of asthenic-depressive disorders caused by traumatic brain injuries.”
- Portugalov S.N, Akhapkina V.I “The results of studies of Phenotropil in sports medicine practice.”
- Malykh A.G, Sadaie M.R. “Piracetam and piracetam-like drugs: from basic science to novel clinical applications to CNS disorders.”