Cerebrolysin is a synthetic nootropic drug which consists of low-molecular peptides and possesses neuroprotective and neurotrophic repair properties. The active fragment of cerebrolysin is made of proteins with very low molecular masses that do not exceed 10.000 daltons. This means they can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and reach neurons directly. Cerebrolysin has been proven to have neurotrophic action similar to nerve growth factors, which cause peripheral and central neuronal stimulation. It improves efficiency within the brain’s aerobic metabolic processes and improves intracellular peptide synthesis. The neuroprotective properties of this nootropic agent help to shield neurons from lactocidosis to prevent formation of free radicals. It has been used for treating stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Benefits of Cerebrolysin:
- Protects brain cells and preventing their death due to harmful conditions (Stroke and Brain injuries). Cerebrolysin improved the recovery and outcome of patients after stroke and traumatic brain injury in 6 studies (including two DB-RCTs and over 600 subjects). It also improved communication skills in infants after severe brain injury (DB-RCT with 158 patients).
- Promotes the growth of new brain cells
- Improves brain cell communication, which enhances learning capacity
- Increases brain energy (by increasing glucose uptake by brain cells) and protein production in cells
- Decreases brain levels of beta-amyloid deposits, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. A review of 15 clinical trials including 2,446 subjects found that high doses of this drug reduced psychological symptoms and slowed disease progression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- In a study of 60 children with ADHD, cerebrolysin improved symptoms in 70 to 86% of subjects
- Lowers inflammation in the brain
- A combination of cerebrolysin with antidepressants was more effective in improving symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression than antidepressants alone
Cerebrolysin is safe and generally well-tolerated by patients, side effects are usually mild and temporary and may include:
- Weight loss
- Flu-like symptoms
A few small clinical trials have reported that cerebrolysin can improve cognitive function in older people with memory problems and in those with schizophrenia, although the effects are modest. In a trial with schizophrenia patients, cerebrolysin treatment improved cognition and memory. Another trial of older adults with memory loss found that a peptide preparation derived from cerebrolysin improved memory performance but not verbal fluency. The effect on memory was lower than that of currently approved drugs for Alzheimer's disease. An uncontrolled clinical trial reported that healthy elderly people had better memory performance after one dose of cerebrolysin but this result could have been caused by the placebo effect.
No clinical studies have tested whether cerebrolysin can prevent dementia, but some preclinical research supports the idea. In preclinical studies, cerebrolysin protected neurons and brain slices from damage, reduced inflammation, promoted the formation of new neural connections (synapses), lessened cognitive impairment and reduced the plaques and tangles common in Alzheimer’s patients.
Cerebrolysin in Alzheimer’s disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a neurotrophic agent (M. Panisset, S. Gauthier, H. Moessler, M. Windisch)
Conclusions: Cerebrolysin treatment was well tolerated and resulted in significant improvements in the global score two months after the end of active treatment.