Presence of Piracetam in Cognitive Enhancement Dietary Supplements

Brain enhancement supplements have become increasingly popular, but FDA recently warned that cognitive enhancement supplements "may be ineffective, unsafe, and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate diagnosis and treatment." New research finds that five supplements touting brain-boosting power contain various amounts of piracetam, a dru

Brain enhancement supplements have become increasingly popular, but FDA recently warned that cognitive enhancement supplements "may be ineffective, unsafe, and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate diagnosis and treatment." New research finds that five supplements touting brain-boosting power contain various amounts of piracetam, a drug that has not been approved by FDA. The drug is approved in Europe for treating cognitive impairment in dementia, but FDA does not allow it to be sold as a supplement in the United States and has previously sent warning letters to companies marketing such products. The drug, when prescribed at a standard dose, is known to cause a host of adverse events—including agitation, anxiety, and depression. Since supplements are not heavily regulated by FDA, experts are concerned that patients could inadvertently ingest dangerous amounts of piracetam. The researchers conclude that "until the law governing supplements is reformed such that products adulterated with drugs can be effectively removed from the market, clinicians should advise patients that supplements marketed as cognitive enhancers may contain prohibited drugs at supratherapeutic doses."