Comparing phenylpiracetam to Adderall is like comparing apples to oranges.

I kid; phenylpiracetam and amphetamine actually kind of comparable because both are stimulating, psychoactive substances.

The main difference is that Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD, whereas phenylpiracetam is a nootropic drug used in Russia. Phenylpiracetam is unusual in the sense that it’s also now being marketed in the US as an over-the-counter cognitive enhancer. Hence, Adderall is cemented as a prescription drug with a high potential for abuse. But phenylpiracetam exists in a kind of amorphous grey area.

Adderall reliably improves concentration and mental energy. But it’s comprised of mixture of amphetamine salts and carries serious risks and adverse effects, like addiction1 and hypertension.

For this reason, Adderall users are always on the lookout for alternatives to amphetamines (Further reading: Adderall Alternatives).

Phenylpiracetam isn’t quite an Adderall alternative because it’s used for different purposes.

But there is some overlap between the two drugs – they both have psychostimulatory effects.

Amphetamines are the most potent psychostimulants – they are the benchmark by which other stimulants are judged. Phenylpiracetam is not nearly as potent a psychostimulant as Adderall – which is a good thing. Phenylpiracetam has some advantages over Adderall, which is why I use it and avoid Adderall.

Phenylpiracetam vs Amphetamine in Brief

  • Phenyliracetam is a nutraceutical “smart drug”; Adderall is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD
  • Phenylpiracetam is classified as a racetam; Adderall is mixed amphetamine salts
  • The standard dose of phenylpiracetam is 200mg verses 10 mg for Adderall
  • Phenylpiracetam’s side effects are generally mild. Adderall has a long list of potential adverse effects
  • Phenylpiracetam dispels brain fog and increases mental agility; Adderall is used to enhance concentration
  • Phenylpiracetam’s psychostimulatory effects are much weaker than Adderall
  • Phenylpiracetam’s half-life is 3-5 hours. Adderall has a half-life of 9-12 hours (depending on your age and other factors).

Okay, you get the idea.

My Verdict

Adderall is a helluva drug. It’s potent, it does what it’s supposed to do (makes it easier to hone in on tasks). But it’s ultimately bad for overall health. It interferes with good sleep hygiene. It elicits dopamine release in spades, depleting dopamine vesicles (stores). It increases blood pressure and overclocks your brain.

There are circumstances where the cost/benefit analysis favors taking Adderall. This decision should ultimately be made by a qualified health professional. If you have ADHD and your functioning without it is clearly impaired, Adderall likely outweighs the risks. For example, one study reported that brain development in a drug-free cohort of patients with ADHD lagged behind ADHD patients who took amphetamine or Ritalin to manage their inattentive symptoms.

If you don’t have moderate-to-severe ADHD, I would investigate Adderall alternatives.

Phenylpiracetam has a number of advantages:

My overall view is that Adderall is appropriate if you have ADHD, whereas phenylpiracetam is your best bet if you’re a healthy adult that’s looking for a cognitive boost. The evidence also seems to favor phenylpiracetam over piracetam and some of the other racetams, which is why I gravitated to it.


I’ve said a lot about Adderall. What about phenylpiracetam?

Here’s are the key facts:

  • Phenylpiracetam was derived from piracetam by adding a phenyl group, which allows the molecule to enter cells more easily
  • The evidence for the nootropic effects of phenylpiracetam is tentative at best
  • Tolerance to the effects of phenylpiracetam develops rapidly. Therefore, cycling is required
  • Phenylpiracetam is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Olympics) due to its reported psychostimulatory and cold resistance properties

Phenylpiracetam phenyl group BBB penetration


Adderall should be avoided unless you have clinically significant ADHD due to its neurotoxic effects.

Phenylpiracetam provides a mild psychostimulatory boost but evidence for nootropic efficacy is equivocal at best.