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Smart Drugs Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Nootropics (Greek meaning "acting on the mind"), or "smart drugs" are prescription items which should be used only on the advice of a physician experienced with their uses. The following is a listing of some of the more popular nootropics with information about each.

Ergoloid Mesylate

(a.k.a. Hydergine, Circanol, Coristin, D-Ergotox forte, L.U.T., Dacoren, Deapril-ST, Decme, Decril, Defluina, DHE, DHET, dihydroergotoxine, Dulcion, Enirant, Ergodesit, Ergohydrin, Ergoplus, Insibrin, Nehydrin, Novofluen, Orphol, Perenan, Progeril, Redergin, Simactil, Sponsin, Trigot and Unergol)

Ergoloid mesylate, derived from the ergot fungus of rye plants, increases memory and recall by promoting the growth of dendrites, the tiny arms which neurons use to communicate with each other. It is used in age related decline in mental capacity. The effect requires several months, during which time, presumably, the dendritic connection between neurons is increasing. The effective dose is from 3 mg to 9 mg.


(a.k.a. Diapid, LVP, Lypressin, Postacton, Syntopressin, Adiuretin, SD, DAV Ritter, DDAVP, Desmopressin, Desmospray, Minirin and AVP)

A brain hormone that is naturally present in your body and which helps in learning new information. It has been used to treat a form of diabetes because it reduces the need to urinate. It has also been used to treat several conditions leading to memory impairment. It is taken in the form of a nasal spray - two to four sniffs three times a day.

Its effects are immediate and noticeable: clear headed feeling and increased attention are among its effects. It is usually sold in 12 ml. bottles and runs out very quickly if used continuously. Continuous use can lead to headaches, nose irritation or abdominal cramps. People with diagnosed hypertension or cardiovascular problems should also proceed with caution.

Centrophenoxine (Lucidril)

Centrophenoxine is know for its anti-aging effect. It increases the life-span up to 30% in laboratory animals. It is also known for its intelligence boosting properties. It clears out cellular waste product called lipofuscin that prevents the normal functioning of neurons. It breaks down to DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) in the blood. Suggested dosage is between 1000 and 3000 mg daily, although the dose should be reduced if side effects such as excitability, muscle stiffness or headache occur. Nursing mothers should not use Centrophenoxine as its safety for infants has not been established. Although Centrophenoxine is not sold in the US, DMAE is widely available from health food stores and pharmacists. In Europe Centrophenoxine is a prescription drug and DMAE is less common.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

DMAE increases intelligence, memory, energy levels and learning, extends life span and elevates mood. Its effects are usually noticeable within half an hour after ingestion (more quickly when taken as a liquid) and continue for a few hours.

Tolerance to DMAE, after several weeks of use, has been reported. If this happens, it can be handled by discontinuance for a few weeks. Adverse side effects include muscle tension and/or hypertension. Overdosing may cause insomnia or brain fog, so it is better to start with a low dose. A suggested dose is from 300 mg up to 1000 mg daily in two divided doses (usually morning and afternoon). Start with a low dose and gradually build up until you notice no additional improvement. In higher than optimal doses DMAE may cause the opposite of the desired effect, namely slowed mentation, therefore it can become a dumb drug, or better said, a dumbing drug. DMAE does not cause nervousness nor depression and is a much safer and better general purpose stimulant than coffee.


Touted as not only a nootropic, but also an anti-aging drug, Deprenyl, a.k.a. selegiline, is thought to provide selective protection against the age-related degeneration of the dopaminergic nervous system. The production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, in this system declines at an average rate of 13% per decade after age 45. This decline is related to aging in the niagrostriatal area of the brain and is related to Parkinsonism. Given that this decline is universal, the only thing standing between a person and the development of Parkinsonism is the occurrence of death before the onset of the disorder. At the 30% level of dopamine (compared to the level prior to age 45) Parkinsonism begins. At 10% death intervenes. Deprenyl is thought to slow this decline. It has also been shown to dramatically increase the life span of laboratory animals. Whether this extends to humans or not is not established, but many people believe that it must.


(a.k.a. Nootropyl, Avigilen, Cerebroforte, Cetam, Dinagen, Encefalux, Encetrop, Euvifor, Gabacet, Genogris, memo-Puren, Nootron, Nootrop, Nootropil, Normabrain, Norzetam, Pirroxil, Psycotron, Stimucortex, and UCB-6215)

This is the first of a class of related drugs. It is said to promote the flow of information between the two hemispheres of the brain according to a paper by Buresova in 1976. Some people feel anxiety unless they combine choline with piracetam. There is no general agreement about how piracetam has its effect, but it seems to work through the cholinergic system. It is not sold in the U.S. and can be purchased over the counter in Mexico.

GHB (Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate)

GHB also acts on the dopamine-ergic chemistry of the brain by temporarily inhibiting the release of dopamine. This may cause increased release when the effect wears off. This effect could account for the middle-of-the-night awakenings common with use of higher GHB doses, and the general feelings of increased well-being, alertness and arousal the next day. Like many other agents, GHB causes a temporary increase in the release of growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary, however, sustained release, which is the desired condition, is not effected by GHB or any other available drug or nutrient. GHB also causes muscle relaxation and is used in Italy to relax the cervix during childbirth and to decrease anxiety, and increase the intensity and frequency of uterine contractions. GHB is also considered by many as an ideal sleep inducing substance and by others as an agent to help in alcohol addiction. Administered intravenously it is can be used as a general anaesthetic. It has been used to treat anxiety present in schizophrenia. Finally, it is also considered by many as an excellent aphrodisiac primarily through its ability to release inhibition.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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