At this early stage, the piracetam FAQ is not copyrighted. There are no distribution limits.
Disclaimer: I can not be held responsible in any way for the text of this document or its use. This document is distributed with no protection over open channels. Though strongly discouraged, modification may have occurred with out my knowledge.
This is the draft version (.5) of the document. I anticipate
that this document will undergo significant revision in the next few weeks.
Some sections of this FAQ still need a lot of work. Particularly the availability
and legality sections. If you have information about obtaining Piracetam
in your country please pass it to me. Also, I have only mentioned a few
of the companies that provide this product. If you use or represent a supply
company that isn't listed (few are) please drop me a line and I will update
and redistribute this FAQ as soon as possible.
Piracetam is a member of the class of drugs known as nootropics. Nootropics are known commonly as cognitive enhances. Piracetam is similar in molecular structure to the amino acid pyroglutamate. Piracetam and pyroglutamate have the same base chemical structure, the 2-oxo-pyrrolidine, but they differ by a side chain. Pyroglutamate is 2-oxo-pyrrolidine carboxylic acid, and piracetam is 2-oxo-pyrrolidine acetamide.
Piracetam was created about 30 years ago by UCB laboratories. Other trade names include: Avigilen, Cerebroforte, Cerebrospan, Cetam, Dinagen, Encefalux, Encetrop, Euvifor, gabacet, Genogris, Memo-Puren, Nootron, Nootrop, Nootropil, Nootropyl, Normabrain, Norzetam, Pirroxil, Psycotron, Stimucortex, and UCB-6215.
A number of drugs are related to Piracetam. These include
oxiracetam, pramiracetam, etiracetam, nefiracetam, aniracetam and rolziracetam.
These have additional structural analogues that behave in a similar manor.
Unless otherwise indicated, the information contained in this FAQ is about
Piracetam itself. In subsquent versions, I will expand this FAQ to cover
these other drugs as well.
One study described the benefits of piracetam in this
way: "In animal models and in healthy volunteers, the drug improves the
efficiency of the higher telencephalic functions of the brain involved
in cognitive processes such as learning and memory. The pharmacology of
piracetam is unusual because it protects against various physical and chemical
insults applied to the brain. It facilitates learning and memory in healthy
animals and in animals whose brain function has been compromised, and it
enhances interhemispheric transfer of information via callosal transmission.
At the same time, even in relatively high dosages it is devoid of any sedative,
analeptic or autonomic activities." 
Abstract: Preclinical research suggests that piracetam (a nootropic drug) may improve cognitive functions, but previous studies have failed to demonstrate a clear benefit for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We report a 1-year, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study with a high dose of piracetam (8 g/d per os) in 33 ambulant patients with early probable AD. Thirty subjects completed the 1-year study. No improvement occurred in either group, but our results support the hypothesis that long-term administration of high doses of piracetam might slow the progression of cognitive deterioration in patients with AD. The most significant differences concerned the recall of pictures series and recent incident and remote memory. The drug was well-tolerated.
Abstract: 101 elderly motorists with reduced reaction capacity were examined under real traffic conditions with regard to their driving ability. They were given a daily dose of 4.8 g piracetam or placebo over a six-week period in a randomized double-blind study. The percentage of correctly solved sign-observance items, which reflects orientation and perception in real traffic conditions, increased in the placebo-treated test-group from 79.86% in the pretest to 80.07% in the retest, whereas the test subjects of the piracetam-treated group improved their performance from 77.08% to 84.16%. After being treated with piracetam for 6 weeks, the drivers showed a significantly better performance than the placebo-group. Of particular interest is the finding that the test-subjects who had scored less than 80% in the pretest improved without exception in the retest after treatment with piracetam.
Children with dyslexia
Abstract: Sixty children with dyslexia (41 boys, 19 girls; ages 9 to 13) were enrolled in a 10-week summer tutoring program that emphasized word-building skills. They were randomly and blindly assigned to receive either placebo or piracetam, a purportedly memory-enhancing drug that has been reported to facilitate reading skill acquisition. The children were subtyped as "dysphonetic" or "phonetic" on the basis of scores from tests of phonological sensitivity and phoneme-grapheme correspondence skills. Of the 53 children who completed the program, 37 were classified as dysphonetic and 16 as phonetic. The phonetic group improved significantly more in word-recognition ability than the dysphonetic group. Overall, the children on medication did not improve more than the nonmedicated ones in any aspect of reading. The phonetic subgroup on piracetam gained more in word recognition than any subgroup but did not improve significantly more than the phonetic subgroup on placebo. Results are discussed in relation to findings from previous studies of piracetam in children with dyslexia.
Abstract: Twenty patients with Parkinson's disease and
marked intellectual impairment or dementia participated in a double-blind
placebo controlled trial of the nootropic, piracetam. A standardized neurological
examination, a neuropsychological test battery, and a functional scale,
The Sickness Impact Profile, were completed for all patients. They were
then assigned by blind randomization to drug or placebo conditions receiving
3.2 g of piracetam or an identical amount of placebo for 12 weeks. The
dose was increased to 4.8 g for an additional 12 weeks. Neurological, psychological,
and functional measures were rated as improved, unchanged, or worsened
in comparison to baseline performance. Twenty-five percent of the patients
did not complete the trial for reasons unrelated to the medication. Although
there was a significant improvement on one subtest of the functional scale,
no significant effects were demonstrated in cognitive or neurological measures.
This continues to be somewhat of a mystery. No definitive mechanism of action has been found. A study conducted in 1994 reviewed previously published literature from 1965-1992 (407 references). An excerpt:
"We believe that the effect of the racetams [[Piracetam and others mentioned in 1.1]] is due to a potentiation of already present neurotransmission and that much evidence points in the direction of a modulated ion flux by, e.g., potentiated calcium influx through non-L-type voltage-dependent calcium channels, potentiated sodium influx through alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor gated channels or voltage-dependent channels or decreases in potassium efflux. Effects on carrier mediated ion transport are also possible."
"How piracetam exerts its effects on memory disorders is still under investigation, although among other proposed mechanisms of action it is thought to facilitate central nervous system efficiency of cholinergic neurotransmission. Results from trials involving elderly patients with senile cognitive disorders have been equivocal, as have the results obtained when piracetam has been combined with acetylcholine precursors." 
How it doesn't work
It has been determined the Piracetam does not work though many common metabolic pathways.
"No affinity for the alpha 1-, alpha 2-, beta-, muscarinic,
5-hydroxytryptamine-, dopamine, adenosine-A1-, mu-opiate, gamma-aminobutyric
acid (GABA) (except for nefiracetam (GABAA)), benzodiazepine and glutamate
receptors has been found."
Some individuals report that they could feel strong effects at 800mg on the first day. On subsequent days at the same dosage the effects were not as noticeable. It is unclear whether maximum benefits are obtained from daily use over time or if occasional use has benefits. If possible work your doctor.
Piracetam has not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States. This does not mean that it is illegal. It is legal to use, posses, and import Piracetam on a 'personal use' bases. Overseas distributors have reported that they have very little trouble shipping to the US. What follows is a large excerpt taken from a text on the FDA web site http://www.fda.gov/. I think it covers the various elements of legality like 'serious conditions' and 'personal use'.
"For many years FDA has permitted individuals to bring into the country small "personal-use" quantities of drugs sold abroad but not approved in the U.S. -- provided that the drugs do not pose unreasonable or significant safety risks, that their use will not be commercialized, and that they are for a serious condition for which there is no satisfactory treatment available in this country. The policy was designed to allow people to import through their personal baggage small quantities of medicines they may have been treated with while traveling abroad, and to allow individuals with serious conditions the ability to import through the mail personal-use quantities of unapproved drugs that they feel might be helpful in treating their conditions."
"Personal-use quantities are generally considered to be amounts for a patient's treatment for three months or less. Imports involving larger quantities may not be permitted as they lend themselves to commercialization."
"In recent years this policy has gained greater attention because of the plight of people with AIDS who have sought to import unapproved therapies from abroad. These include importations brought into the country though personal baggage carried back from a trip to another country or through mail shipments."
"Persons with additional questions about importation of drugs for personal use should consult with the local FDA district office or the Imports Operations Branch in Rockville, MD at (301) 443-6553."
*Note: see also previous pages on Personal-Use and FDA policy
I realize the UK policy has changed recently. I will update the section soon. If you have information regarding the availability or Piracetam in the UK please forward it to me. As I understand it now, you can import it from a foreign source.
Piracetam is a prescription medication in Mexico. I'd
imagine that it is as easily obtainable as any other medication. Which
is pretty easy. If you have more information again please let me know.