Piracetam--an old drug with novel properties?
Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine-acetamide), the most common of the nootropic drugs, is a cyclic derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid. The treatment with piracetam improves learning, memory, brain metabolism, and capacity. Piracetam has been shown to alter the physical properties of the plasma membrane by increasing its fluidity and by protecting the cell against hypoxia. It increases red cell deformability and normalizes aggregation of hyperactive platelets. Piracetam is an agent with antithrombotic, neuroprotective and rheological properties. The interaction of this molecule with the membrane phospholipids restores membrane fluidity and could explain the efficacy of piracetam in various disorders ranging from dementia and vertigo to myoclonus and stroke.