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What Should I Know About Picamilon?


Updated May 22, 2014

Picamilon is a dietary supplement made from a combination of niacin (also known as vitamin B3) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Sometimes referred to as nicotinoyl-GABA, picamilon is sold as a prescription drug in Russia.

Niacin is known to promote widening of the blood vessels, while gamma-aminobutyric acid plays a key role in regulating nervous system activity. An amino acid found naturally in your body, GABA acts as a neurotransmitter (a type of chemical responsible for carrying information from one cell to another). Research indicates that people with certain mental health problems (such as major depression and anxiety) may be more likely to have low levels of GABA.

Uses for Picamilon

Picamilon is often referred to as a "smart drug," a class of drugs used to enhance brain function. In addition, picamilon is said to help treat the following conditions:

Proponents claim that picamilon can also help sharpen memory, enhance mood, and protect against Alzheimer's disease.

Benefits of Picamilon

So far, few scientific studies have tested the health effects of picamilon. However, some preliminary research suggests that picamilon may offer certain benefits.

For example, a rat-based study released by Kiev's Institute of Biochemistry in 1998 determined that picamilon shows promise for the treatment and prevention of diabetic neuropathy (a condition marked by nerve damage that results from diabetes-related elevation in blood sugar levels). However, there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing picamilon's effects against diabetic neuropathy.

In addition, a 2010 study published in the Russian journal Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology found that picamilon may help protect against hypokinesia. In tests on rats, the authors of the study found that injection of picamilon helped restore the animal's number of active GABA receptors (a class of molecules that respond to GABA). A condition marked by decreased bodily movement, hypokinesia is sometimes associated with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders.


Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term use of picamilon. However, there's some concern that picamilon may trigger a number of side effects, such as headache, tingling, and nausea. Picamilon may interact with certain medications, such as benzodiazepines.

It should be noted that treating a chronic condition with picamilon and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of picamilon for the treatment of a chronic condition (such as high blood pressure or Parkinson's disease), consult your physician before taking the drug, as it may not be appropriate or safe for people with certain conditions, such as cancer.

Alternatives to Picamilon

If you're seeking to improve brain function, a number of natural remedies may serve as an alternative to picamilon. For instance, omega-3 fatty acids have been found to enhance cognitive function, preserve memory, and protect against depression and Alzheimer's disease. Found naturally in foods like flaxseed oil and oily fish (including salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring), omega-3 fatty acids are also sold in supplement form.

There's also some evidence that certain alternative therapies may help increase GABA levels in the brain. For instance, preliminary research suggests that herbs like kava and valerian may elevate GABA levels by stimulating the production of GABA or by slowing the body's breakdown of GABA. In addition, some research shows that practicing yoga may help increase your GABA levels and, in turn, improve mood and alleviate anxiety.

Where to Find Picamilon

Widely available for purchase online, picamilon is sold in some drugstores.


Kuchmerovskaia TM, Parkhomets PK, Donchenko GV, Obrosova IG, Klimenko AP, Kuchmerovskiĭ NA, Pakirbaeva LV, Efimov AS. "Correction of diabetic neuropathies using aldose reductase inhibitors and pikamilon." Vopr Med Khim. 1998 Nov-Dec;44(6):559-64.

Akopian VP, Balian LS, Zakarian NA. "Effect of nootropes on quantitative changes in the rat cerebral cortex GABA(A) receptor complexes under experimental hypokinesia conditions." Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2010 Jul;73(7):13-5.

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