What are nootropics?

Nootropics are the supplements or drugs that are considered to improve memory, attention, motivation, and cognitive function. They are also known as smart drugs. They enhance brain performance.  They are most commonly used for:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Alzheimer's disease

They are divided into two categories:

  • Prescription Nootropics
  • Non-prescription Nootropics

Prescription nootropics include:

  • Adderall
  • Modafinil (Provigil)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Memantine (Axura)
  • Donepezil (Aricept)

These are the medications that cannot be taken without a doctor's prescription.

Non-prescription nootropics are naturally occurring compounds. They include:

  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine
  • Creatine
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Rhodiola Rosea

 They do not completely treat the disease but they have some effect on memory, thinking, and attention. Caffeine is most commonly used because it is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. Nicotine is also consumed widely. Guirguis said:

"These two are kind of 'acceptable' cognitive enhancers, we use them because they're going to improve our memory, productivity and alertness, and ability to do things."

What conditions are nootropics used for?

Nootropics are used for enhancing memory, focus, attention, creativity, motivation, alertness, concentration, and intelligence. They are also used for treating:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Alzheimer's disease


Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder in which a person feels dizziness, drowsiness, and trouble staying awake during the day. He feels attacks of sleep during the day. Nootropics are used to overcome this particular condition. Modafinil is commonly prescribed for narcolepsy. Guirguis said:

"Modafinil may stop you from sleeping for three to four days,"

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects the behaviors of people. It causes trouble in concentrating, and excessive movement and the patient feels restless all the time. Adderall is most commonly prescribed to the patients with ADHD. It increases the levels of concentration and focus in people who want to engage in activities like sports.

 Alzheimer's disease:

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological condition of the elderly in which cells of the brain shrink and causes forgetfulness. Donepezil (Aricept) is mostly prescribed for Alzheimer's disease.

Nootropics have some therapeutic effects too like they improve cognitive control, euphoria, changes in sex drive, and increased wakefulness. They increase attention and reduce restlessness in overactive patients.  They help to increase attention in patients who cannot concentrate on their work. They also help those people who feel sleepy due to narcolepsy. They are also used by some athletes for their performance enhancing effect. Several studies report that nootropics are useful in treating the symptoms of lack of attention, impulsiveness, aggression, and disruptive behavior. These medications do not cure sleepiness but will continue to work as long as you take them. They should not be used for occasional sleepiness. Moreover, they are also used as a 'smart drug' to promote cognitive enhancement (alertness and concentration).  In a research, 75 to 80% of children with ADHD saw improvement in symptoms by taking Adderall. Furthermore, it is effective in treating narcolepsy by reducing sleepiness and increasing wakefulness.

How do nootropics work?

Nootropics are CNS stimulants. Nootropics act as a vasodilator in the brain against the small arteries and veins. When taken, they will increase nutrients uptake and blood circulation to the brain so, that more energy and oxygen will be taken by the brain. It will become more active and will start working actively.

Nootropics also enhance the energy of the brain by increasing the metabolic activity of mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells), transporting fatty acids to the brain which gives energy to mitochondria and increasing oxygen uptake by the brain cells.

Some nootropics like Modafinil work on the hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus. They activate orexin neuropeptides and histamine and act as weak and selective dopamine reuptake inhibitors. They block dopamine receptors by increasing dopamine in the brain. Nootropics may optimize neurotransmitters by supplying brain chemical precursors, boosting receptor sensitivity, increasing neurotransmitter synthesis, and inhibiting neurotransmitter breakdown. They last for 10 hours to 15 hours in the body.

Types of Nootropics treatments available:

Nootropics (CNS) stimulants are used for the treatment of sleepiness due to narcolepsy, OSAHS, and shift work sleep disorders. They stimulate the CNS by enhancing the action of dopamine and blocking dopamine receptors. These medications include:

  • Wake promoting medications (solriamfetol and pitolisant)
  • Sodium oxybate (xyrem)
  • Stimulants (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine or dextroamphetamine mixed salts)
  • Antidepressant (protriptyline ,clomipramine ,and desipramine )
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (fluoxetine, atomoxetine, and sertraline)

Other than medications some therapies are also helpful in treating ADHD and narcolepsy.     They include cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, counseling, and patient education. These therapies can help in relieving symptoms but they cannot permanently treat these conditions.  Besides these medications and therapies, dietary adjustments can also help in relieving symptoms of ADHD. It includes magnesium, melatonin, zinc, and fish oil. Lifestyle changes can also help in treating sleepiness due to narcolepsy.

  • Try to keep the room dark, quiet, cool, and comfortable.
  • Avoid watching TV before bedtime.
  • Avoid using your phone at the night.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate at night before bedtime.
  • Exercise at least 20 minutes daily.
  • Avoid doing exercise within three hours of bedtime.
  • Follow a regular sleep/wake schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid intentional sleep loss, such as staying awake late on weekends.
  • Don’t eat large, heavy meals or a lot of liquids before bedtime.
  • Take a warm bath, meditate, and perform yoga.
  • Avoid smoking before bedtime.
  • Take short naps (20 to 30 minutes) at times when you are feeling most sleepy.

Side effects of Nootropics:

Side effects of nootropics include:

  • Hematuria
  • Bladder pain
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Painful urination
  • Micturation
  • Muscle pain
  • Urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea

Side effects from overdose include:

  • Agitation
  • Excitement
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fast or pounding heartbeat

Some side effects require medical attention immediately. They include:

  • Anxiety
  • Hypertension
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Rash
  • Dyskinesia
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Hives
  • Blisters
  • Depression

Long-term use of nootropics will have adverse effects on health. They are considered as a controlled substance which means it has the liability to be misused. Long term use of these drugs can cause physical dependence or addiction, heart problems, liver problems, and hallucinations. Tolerance can also be developed if these medications are taken for longer periods. A larger amount of drugs will be needed in case of tolerance. In this case, you should consult with your doctor, he will adjust your dose as needed.  They are habit forming drugs. Addiction can be developed by taking nootropics for longer periods, you will feel terrible without the drug.

Buy the best nootropics online:

Some nootropics supplements are available online at Modafinil and zolpidem are the best medications that you can find online. But their use without a doctor's prescription is strictly prohibited.

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