piracetam in students with dyslexia

A trial of piracetam in two subgroups of students with dyslexia enrolled in summer tutoring.

Ackerman PT, Dykman RA, Holloway C, Paal NP, Gocio MY.

Department of Psychiatry,
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR
J Learn Disabil 1991 Nov;24(9):542-9


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.