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Nootropic: Over-The-Counter Medications And More


Nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, are natural or synthetic substances with brain-stimulating properties.

They are referred to as substances that can improve memory or cognition. Nootropics are becoming more and more popular.

They may reduce the signs and symptoms of illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, narcolepsy, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

The thought of taking a pill to increase your mental capacity may be very appealing. Here come the Nootropics drugs that can be widely categorized to improve cognitive function.

Nootropics also include over-the-counter drugs that can improve cognitive function, such as caffeine and creatine.

In this article, we will be talking about prescription and nonprescription Nootropics drugs, including their uses, side effects, and a lot more.

All About Nootropic

How Do Nootropics Work?

Nootropics increase the amount of glucose and oxygen that the brain receives and shield it from neurotoxicity.

Additionally, they[1] have an anti-aggregation effect and have positive effects on the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids in neurons as well as the removal of oxygen free radicals.

Prescription Nootropics

To treat a variety of brain conditions, a doctor may advise a patient to take a nootropic. The nootropic drug is typically a type of stimulant that functions possibly similar to an amphetamine.

The benefits of prescription nootropics include[2] their specificity of action, pharmaceutical purity, and potential for an increase in effect through chemical structure modification.

They may be used to treat dementia, narcolepsy, or ADHD.  The most potent and significant effects on memory and attention come from prescription nootropics drugs.

They typically work at lower doses, but an overdose is more likely because of this. These medications should not be used without a prescription.

  • Stomach Pain 
    Prescription nootropics may induce[3] stomach pain among their users.
  • Nausea 
    Some individuals might feel nausea by use of these medications.
  • Anxiety
    These drugs might even lead to anxiety problems among their users.
  • High blood pressure
    People who already have high blood pressure may have adverse reactions to these drugs.
  • Sleep disturbances
    One might find difficulty sleeping after using this drug.
  • Addiction
    This is one of the most common problems of prescription nootropics users.

Due to the paucity of clinical data on prescription nootropics’ effectiveness, safety, and social effects, particularly when used over an extended period, healthy individuals should use them with extreme caution.

Over-The-Counter Nootropics

  1. Caffeine

    The most popular nootropic is caffeine. Most people would agree that they frequently[4] resort to a cup of coffee to help them focus or give them more energy.

    Your brain’s adenosine receptors are blocked by caffeine, which reduces your sense of fatigue. Caffeine, therefore, functions somewhat like a nootropic.

    Your reaction time, alertness, memory, and mood may all be enhanced by consuming 50-200 mg of caffeine daily.

  2. L-Theanine

    Gyokuro and Matcha green tea kinds are the most prevalent sources of the amino acid L-Theanine, a nootropic.

    Additionally, some mushrooms[5] contain it. When combined with caffeine, L-theanine has even greater benefits.

    L-theanine may increase mood, reduce stress, boost learning capacity, and enhance memory and attention. L-theanine has a calming effect without making you sleepy.

  3. Creatine

    In addition to helping your muscles grow, the supplement creatine is also good for your brain.

    Creatine may increase[6] brain energy levels, lessen the effects of sleep deprivation, enhance reasoning, and increase mental endurance.

    Your brain receives increased energy from creatine, preventing motivation crashes. After taking creatine for a week, you’ll experience consistent, even energy that will help you finish your work.

    5 grams of creatine can be taken every day without any risks. While larger doses are also effective, it is unknown how well they work over the long term.

  4. Ginkgo Biloba

    An antioxidant-rich herb called Ginkgo Biloba is used to improve brain function and treat several ailments.

    Extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba plant are included in a variety of nutritional supplements. Terpenoids and flavonoids, both of which are antioxidants, are found in ginkgo leaves.

    As you get older, your body accumulates[7] dangerous substances called free radicals, which may be a factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

    Ginkgo contains antioxidants that fend off free radicals and prevent them from harming DNA and other cells.

    However, to better comprehend the potential advantages of Ginkgo Biloba for your brain, more investigation is required.

  5. Bacopa Monnieri

    An old herb called Bacopa Monnieri is utilized in Indian traditional medicine or Ayurveda.

    Epilepsy, anxiety, and memory issues are just a few of the medical conditions for which bacopa is commonly advocated as a cure.

    Bacopa Monnieri can be used as a nootropic that has an improved[8] memory-enhancing action and antioxidant defense system.

    They improve learning and memory skills by activating different pathways, which may provide some relief to Alzheimer’s patients who have dementia in their disease’s early stage.

  6. Panax Ginseng

    One of the most well-known nootropics is likely Panax ginseng.

    For thousands of years, it has been a mainstay of numerous[9] forms of traditional medicine to enhance mental processing and brain function.

    Panax ginseng helps lower stress and elevate mood. As an adaptogen, it lessens adrenal exhaustion and has an anti-stress effect.

    ADHD may benefit from ginseng’s neuroprotective effects on the dopaminergic pathway. It can also increase brain energy by reducing cytokines and acting as an anti-inflammatory.

  7. Modafinil

    The prescription drug modafinil functions as a nootropic. It is most frequently used to treat narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea, both of which induce extreme sleepiness.

    Modafinil is believed to function[10] by affecting specific brain chemicals. Its energizing effects are comparable to those of cocaine or amphetamines.

    Narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, such as periods of not breathing while sleeping, are made less sleepy by modafinil.

    If your work schedule prevents you from having a regular sleep schedule, it can also be used to help you stay awake during the workday.

  8. Phenylpiracetam

    Synthetic nootropic phenylpiracetam is a frequently used over-the-counter supplement. It aids the brain’s recovery from a variety[11] of wounds, including trauma, stroke, and epilepsy.

    The best outcomes might be obtained if taken at a dosage of 100-200 mg acutely for 2-3 times per day (totaling a daily range of 200-600mg). To learn the precise dosage, talk to your doctor, though.

Treatment Duration Of Nootropics

The majority of nootropics do not often have instant effects after a single dose and require long-term use to produce stable improvements.

To enhance brain metabolism, they must be able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Their effectiveness is dose-dependent, and giving them insufficiently is a frequent error.

For best results, the course of treatment should be continued for at least two to three weeks.


Nootropics are drugs that are thought to improve mental performance. They range from pharmaceutical corporations’ manufactured medications to dietary supplements.

Navigating the nootropic market can be challenging because there is a lot of false information about how these smart pills function.

For a deeper understanding of the advantages of nootropics, more research is required. However, it has been demonstrated in several cases that nootropics are used to enhance memory, while others are used to increase attention and mental acuity.

The effects of nootropics are also typically more subdued and gradual. Sometimes taken together, they can increase each other’s effectiveness.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Noor Azuin Suliman, Che Norma Mat Taib, Mohamad Aris Mohd Moklas, et. al. Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 4391375. Published online 2016 Aug 30. doi: 10.1155/2016/4391375.
  2. Matěj Malík and Pavel Tlustoš. Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects of Smart Drugs. Nutrients. 2022 Aug; 14(16): 3367. Published online 2022 Aug 17. doi: 10.3390/nu14163367
  3. Peak Nootropics LLC aka Advanced Nootropics. Date of Publication: February 5, 2019. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/peak-nootropics-llc-aka-advanced-nootropics-557887-02052019
  4. Simone Cappelletti, Piacentino Daria, Gabriele Sani, et. al. Caffeine: Cognitive and Physical Performance Enhancer or Psychoactive Drug?. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2015 Jan; 13(1): 71–88. Published online 2015 Jan. doi: 10.2174/1570159X13666141210215655.
  5. Shinsuke Hidese, Shintaro Ogawa, Miho Ota, et. al. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Oct; 11(10): 2362. Published online 2019 Oct 3. doi: 10.3390/nu11102362
  6. Konstantinos I Avgerinos, Nikolaos Spyrou, Konstantinos I Bougioukas, et. al. Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jul 15;108:166-173. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013. Epub 2018 Apr25. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29704637/
  7. Pradeep J Nathan, Emily Ricketts, Keith Wesnes, et. al. The acute nootropic effects of Ginkgo biloba in healthy older human subjects: a preliminary investigation. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2002 Jan;17(1):45-9. doi: 10.1002/hup.353. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12404706/
  8. Sebastian Aguiar and Thomas Borowski. Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa monnieri. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Aug; 16(4): 313–326.
    doi: 10.1089/rej.2013.1431.
  9. Chris Neale, David Camfield, Jonathon Reay, et. al. Cognitive effects of two nutraceuticals Ginseng and Bacopa benchmarked against modafinil: a review and comparison of effect sizes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar; 75(3): 728–737. Published online 2013 Feb 5. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12002
  10. Martine Van Puyvelde, Jeroen Van Cutsem, Emilie Lacroix, et. al. A State-of-the-Art Review on the Use of Modafinil as A Performance-enhancing Drug in the Context of Military Operationality. Mil Med. 2022 Jan 4;187(1-2):52-64. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab398. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34632515/
  11. Andrei G Malykh and M Reza Sadaie. Piracetam and piracetam-like drugs: from basic science to novel clinical applications to CNS disorders. Drugs. 2010 Feb 12;70(3):287-312. doi: 10.2165/11319230-000000000-00000. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20166767/

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