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Cortexin is a multi-component drug, a composition of polypeptides, vitamins, ribonucleic and amino acids with a Nootropic action.

It was developed in the 1980s in the Soviet Union by the team of scientists of S.M Kirov Military-Medical Academy, and after preclinical and clinical studies successfully used during Afghanistan war.

This nootropic based on a mixture of neuropeptides isolated by acetic acid extraction from the cerebral cortex of young cattle and pigs under 12 months of age. After extraction, this mixture subjected to multi-stage purification process to obtain a fraction of peptides with molecular weights less than ten kilodaltons.

By the method of producing, Cortexin is similar to Cerebrolysin. However, Cerebrolysin, which extracted from pig brains, has a different chemical composition (fewer peptides and more free amino acids). It also contains various micronutrients that support brain health.

vitamins in cortexin


Mechanism of action

The pharmacological effects of Cortexin is a result of changes in the serotoninergic, dopaminergic and GABAergic systems.

The mechanics of action is based on the protection of the nerve cells, stimulating metabolic processes in the brain and the formation of new neural connections. The influence on the central nervous system carried out by modulating the balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters.

So the way how Cortexin affects your brain:

  • Restoring the balance between inhibitory (Taurine, GABA, Glycine) and excitatory neurotransmitters.
  • Increasing the GABA, Serotonin and Dopamine levels.
  • Stimulation of neurotrophic activity.
  • Antioxidant action.
  • Anti-Inflammatory effect.

Usage of Cortexin in Russian medicine

Cortexin used in the treatment of traumatic brain injury and its neuropsychiatric sequelae, encephalopathy, Organic brain syndrome, withdrawal syndrome, poisoning by psychotropic drugs, migraine, decreased the ability to learn new information, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and in complex therapy of epilepsy.

The therapeutic effect is especially noticeable on the restoration of impaired cognitive functions. It was found that patients with traumatic brain injuries that received treatment with Cortexin improved their memory and attention. They were able to perform attention tests with less number of errors and complete more tasks without the fast onset of fatigue.

In studies on patients with cognitive impairments resulted from cerebral arteriosclerosis, Cortexin has demonstrated positive change in their cognitive functions on the 9th day after beginning of the treatment. Those changes were expressed in an increase of accuracy and capacity of visual short-term memory, concentration, attention, and improvement of logical thinking. In ischemic stroke patients that received treatment with Cortexin, the cognitive impairments such as memory deficits also were less pronounced compared to the patients that received standard treatment.

Cortexin is also used in pediatrics. It is prescribed for the treatment of perinatal brain damage and other brain injuries, Cerebral palsy, ADHD and developmental disorders. As clinical studies show, this Nootropic is very efficient in the treatment of ADHD and speech disorders in kids, which is confirmed by the parents’ feedbacks.

An interesting fact that this Nootropic also utilized in ophthalmology. The reason for that is the Neuroprotective action of the drug. Various eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cause optic atrophy. In this case, it can be included in the complex treatment to restore the functioning of the optic nerve. 

According to the scientific journal “Herald of the Russian Military-Medical Academy,” Cortexin can be used in healthy individuals affected by stressful work conditions.


Although the drug instruction says that there are no side effects besides possible allergic reaction, some users report side effects. They are rare, but they do happen.

Side effects reported by users include:

  • Headaches.
  • Hyperactivity and excitement.
  • Irritability and impulsivity.
  • Strong allergic reactions with syncope.
  • Convulsions, muscle twitches. A couple of users claim that this drug causes convulsion attack to their kids and the worsening of developmental disorder symptoms.

The length of the course is ten days, one ampule via intramuscular injection daily. You can repeat after 3-6 months. To avoid difficulties with falling asleep, it is recommended to make injections at the first half of the day.

Cortexin sold as a lyophilized (freeze-dried) powder in vials. So, to dissolve it before using, you’ll need water for injections or 0.5% procaine solution (1-2 ml per vial).