ENCEPHABOL ® (Pyritinol)

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Encephabol (Pyritinol) is a cholinergic nootropic drug that is used to restore impaired cognitive functions and treat dementia.

By its chemical structure, Pyritinol is a vitamin B6 derivative that is obtained by bonding two molecules of pyridoxine with a disulfide bridge. However, the pharmacological action of Encephabol differs from that of Vitamin B6.

The drug was developed in 1961 by Merck (Germany) and has a long history of clinical use. As of today, Encephabol is marketed in more than 50 countries worldwide. It is used in medicine to treat dementia, decreased mental capacity, and developmental delays in children, such as autism.

Pyritinol does not produce a significant effect on aminergic systems, having practically no influence on levels, turnover, and uptake of dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and norepinephrine. Its main mechanism of action is cholinergic, antioxidant, and vasodilatory.

In studies, Pyritinol has been shown to:

  • Increase blood ATP in a dose-dependent manner by up to 20%;
  • Compensate the age-related reduction in glucose utilization by up to 75%;
  • Increase choline uptake in striatal synaptosomes in both aged and young rats;
  • Increase the cGMP content in the cortex by up to 50%;
  • Produce a significant vasodilatory effect comparable to that of Vinpocetine;
  • Produce vigilance-enhancing effects in EEG studies;
  • Improve psychomotor performance and short-term memory in healthy volunteers.


To avoid possible side effects and potentiate the therapeutic action, it is highly recommended to take Pyritinol with an additional source of choline e.g. Cereton.

Encephabol and Vinpocetine have a synergistic effect on cerebral blood flow.

Produced by Merck, Germany / Takeda, Austria. Read more about the Takeda in this blog post.

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This product has not been approved by the US FDA. All statements on this page are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the US FDA.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. See more

Dosage and administration

The dosage is 200 mg (two pills) three times a day, during or after a meal. Dosage for kids above 7 years old is 1-2 pills 1–3 times a day. If you experience sleep disturbances, do not take this medicine in the evening or before bed. Typically, it takes 3-4 weeks for a therapeutic effect to be observed, with its peak on the 6th–12th week. The minimum treatment course is 8 weeks.


  • Hypersensitivity;
  • Liver and kidney disorders;
  • Abnormal blood test results;
  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • Age below 7 years old (for pill form).


Side effects

  • Allergic reactions (skin rash, nausea, diarrhea, hyperthermia);
  • Insomnia;
  • Agitation;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Dysgeusia;
  • Liver disorders.


Encefabol should be taken with caution in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


Merck, Germany / Takeda, Austria.

  1. Ismael et al (1974) Post-encephalitis Treatment with Encephabol https://www.researchgate.net/publication/18737784_Post-encephalitis_Treatment_with_Encephabol
  2. Walti et al (1975) Pyritinol hydrochloride and cognitive functions: influence on children in slow learner classes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1105370
  3. J Glatzel (1976) Clinical experience with Encephabol (author’s transl) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/792665
  4. Stroesco et al (1977) Experimental research on the effect of piracetam and pyritinol on the central nervous system (MID) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/411142
  5. N Papathéodossiou (1979) Use of encephabol in anaesthesia and post-anaesthesia resuscitation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/525751
  6. M Flood (1979) Pyritinol hydrochloride (encephabol) and senile dementia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1598737/
  7. A Cooper, R Magnus (1980) A placebo-controlled study of pyritinol (‘Encephabol’) in dementia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7001490
  8. Voronina et al (1986) Specificity of the action of piracetam, encephabol and Cleregil on the transcallosal evoked potential https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3955218
  9. Herrmann et al (1986) On the effects of pyritinol on functional deficits of patients with organic mental disorders https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3534901
  10. Greiner et al (1988) Neurochemical studies on the mechanism of action of pyritinol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2905813
  11. Topinka et al (1989) The influence of alpha-tocopherol and pyritinol on oxidative DNA damage and lipid peroxidation in human lymphocytes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2927430
  12. Hindmarch et al (1990) Psychopharmacological effects of pyritinol in normal volunteers https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2135070
  13. Knezevic et al (1990) Long term treatment of SDAT patients with pyritinol https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-7091-3396-5_64
  14. Fischof et al (1992) Therapeutic efficacy of pyritinol in patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT) and multi-infarct dementia https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1475039
  15. Heiss et al (1994) Long-term effects of phosphatidylserine, pyritinol, and cognitive training in Alzheimer’s disease. A neuropsychological, EEG, and PET investigation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8038871
  16. Vasco et al (2004) Severe cholestatic hepatitis induced by pyritinol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC381054/
  17. L Zenkov, A Zenkova (2011) Encephabol in the treatment of cognitive disorders in epilepsy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23120794
  18. Alkuraishy et al (2014) Vinpocetine and pyritinol: a new model for blood rheological modulation in cerebrovascular disorders—a randomized controlled clinical study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25548768
  19. I Apetrei and C Apetrei (2017) Highly sensitive voltamperometric determination of pyritinol using carbon nanofiber/gold nanoparticle composite screen-printed carbon electrode https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5560415/
  20. I Apetrei, C Apetrei (2017) Highly sensitive voltamperometric determination of pyritinol using carbon nanofiber/gold nanoparticle composite screen-printed carbon electrode https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28860746

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