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Posted September 26, 2020

Cognitive Enhancement Supplements Can Contain Unapproved Drugs

Recent testing detected five unapproved drugs in 10 over-the-counter cognitive enhancement and workout supplements sold in the US. Some of the supplements contained concerningly high doses of unapproved drugs or combinations of several unapproved drugs (Cohen, Neurol Clin Pract Sep 2020). All of the supplements listed at least one unapproved drug on the label.

The researchers purchased 10 supplements sold online in the U.S. in 2019 that were labeled as containing omberacetam (Noopept) or similar drugs (aniracetam, oxiracetam or phenylpiracetam) which are all analogs of piracetam. Piracetam is prescribed in some European countries for cognitive impairment and dementia, but in the U.S., piracetam and omberacetam have no FDA-approved uses and are not permitted to be sold as dietary supplements.

The supplements were not identified by brand name, but were promoted on labels with terms such as "Noopept learning amplifier," "Brain enhancement formula" and "Mental clarity and memory function." Three of the products were promoted with phrases such as "Outlast, endure, overcome," "Workout explosives," and "Fat burning thermogenic, focus & clarity."

Testing showed that the amount of omberacetam among the products ranged from 5 mg to 40 mg per serving (compared to a typical pharmacological dose of 10 mg.) Two products were found to contain other unapproved drugs (phenibut, aniracetam and/or picamilon) that were not listed on the label. Some of the products contained combinations of drugs that have not been tested for safety: One product combined three different drugs (omberacetam, phenibut and aniracetam) and another product contained four different drugs (omberacetam, aniracetam, vinpocetine and picamilon). Of the supplements that listed drug quantities on their labels, 75% (nine of 12) of declared quantities were inaccurate.

The researchers warned that "consumption of these products could expose people to amounts of these drugs four-fold greater than pharmaceutical dosages and combinations never tested in humans."

The same researchers reported finding piracetam in cognitive enhancement supplements purchased in 2018. The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine last year.

See ConsumerLab's answer to the question: What is Noopept? Can it really improve memory and cognition, and is it safe?

Also see Do any supplements really help with brain function, like memory and cognition?

For more information, use the link below.

Five unapproved drugs found in cognitive enhancement supplements

See Related Warnings:

Cognitive Enhancement Supplements Contain Unapproved Drug

Memory Enhancement Ingredient Vinpocetine Should Not Be Sold In Supplements, Says FDAs

FDA Warns Companies Selling Products Containing Picamilon