Drug Investigation

, Volume 5, Supplement 1, pp 4–49 | Cite as

Pharmacology of Aniracetam

A Novel Pyrrolidinone Derivative with Cognition Enhancing Activity
  • J. R. Martin
  • W. E. Haefely


A comprehensive review of the extensive preclinical pharmacological data available on the pyrrolidinone derivative aniracetam has provided convincing evidence of ameliorative effects on learning and memory. Such effects were most clearly observed in animals exhibiting impaired cognitive abilities. Aniracetam was consistently shown to be considerably more potent than the structurally similar, prototypic nootropic piracetam, which was often included in these experiments as a parallel, active control compound. The mechanism of action of the nootropics, including aniracetam, has remained elusive, although it has been speculated that indirect facilitation of cholinergic neurotransmission, especially under conditions of dysfunction, may contribute. Recent studies indicate that aniracetam acts at the AMPA subtype of glutamate receptors as a positive modulator. Metabolites of aniracetam have been found to exhibit positive effects on memory and probably contribute to the cognition enhancement observed after aniracetam treatment. Finally, aniracetam was shown to be well tolerated under the diverse test conditions and in the numerous species evaluated. Thus, the cognition enhancer aniracetam exhibits a pharmacological profile suggesting considerable potential therapeutic value in the treatment of dementias.


Scopolamine Passive Avoidance Drug Invest Retention Test Piracetam 
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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Martin
    • 1
  • W. E. Haefely
    • 1
  1. 1.Pharma Division, Preclinical ResearchF. Hoffmann-La Roche LtdBaselSwitzerland

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