PRL 8 53 Review: A Powerful Memory Enhancer With Many User Reviews But Few Studies

Updated September 10, 2018

What is PRL 8 53?

PRL-8-53 is a synthetic nootropic that is thought to be a powerful memory enhancer.
It is a monoamine with the full name 3-(2-benzylmethylamino ethyl) benzoic acid methyl ester hydrochloride. It is a derivative of phenethylamine and benzoic acid.
This nootropic was created back in the early 1970s by researcher Nikolaus R. Hansl at Creighton University when he was researching amino ethyl meta benzoic esters. (1,3) He very quickly patented the compound and conducted numerous studies, with only one study on rats and one on humans published in the 1970s. (1,2)
According to one LongeCity thread, Dr. Hansl apparently continued to take this nootropic drug throughout this lifetime. One user claims that they were in contact with his family, who confirmed this use.
Now, over 40 years after the lone human study was published, many neurohackers are taking this compound, both alone and in numerous nootropic stacks, in spite of little research and understanding as to its mechanisms or safety profile.
In fact, this substance is not even approved by the FDA as a nutritional supplement, but instead is an unscheduled drug, a category generally saved for those drugs in the waiting line to be scheduled to be made illegal.
So why would so many people experiment with their brains when there are so many powerful nootropics on the market? The answer is simple:
PRL-8-53 is reported by many to be the most powerful memory enhancer yet created.
When you look through the single study on humans, the one rat study, and the numerous user reviews, you will find memory improvements that are next to unheard of. (2)
Even though there is no current research looking into this compound, many users are using themselves as test subjects and posting lengthy, useful threads of Reddit and LongeCity.

custom multivitamin pack

User Reported Benefits

Anecdotal evidence from Reddit and LongeCity suggest the following benefits:

  • Improves both short- and long-term memory
    • Memory improvements are not just new memories formed during supplementation, but improved recall of old memories
  • Boosts learning and logical thinking
  • Enhances test taking ability when taken 30 min before a test
  • Increases focus and mental stamina
  • Accellerates reading speed and improves comprehension
  • Better understanding of abstract concepts
  • Heightens “living in the moment”
  • Raises energy and feelings of alertness
  • Improves motivation

The Lone Human and Rat Studies on PRL-8-53

47 healthy adult volunteers entered into this double-blind trial of Prl-8-53 conducted in 1978. In this study, 5 mg of this drug was taken orally about 2-2.5 hours before tests used to measure memory.
In this memory test, the participants were given twelve single syllable, unknown words verbally and asked to recall these words at 24 hours and 96 hours after the test was given.
When compared to the placebo, those with poor memory recall (categorized as six or fewer words) were able to recall between 87.5% and 105% more words. In high performers (categorized as eight or more words) an increase of between 7.9% and 14% was found. When distributed by age, it was found that those over 30 experienced an improvement of between 108% and 152%.
These findings suggest that PRL-8-53 may significantly improve memory recall in poor performers and those over 30, and slightly improve memory in high performers (although the improvement did not reach significance).
When measuring acquisition rates, which were the ability to recall words right after the test, a more mild effect was found, with the drug leading to an 18% improvement in the poor performers and 31.4% improvement in those over the age of 30.
This study suggests that this experimental nootropic may be a powerful tool when it comes to memory.
In a previous study on rats, those who were given this nootropic compound were found to experience an increase in conditioned avoidance learning. (2) This kind of test is used to study the impact of a substance on the memory in rats. It was found that the benefits were dose-dependent, with those taking 20 mg/kg experiencing better memory improvements than those receiving 5 mg/kg.

custom multivitamin pack

Dr. Hansl’s 1979 Article

In his article published in Phi Delta Kappan titled “Learning and Memory Improvement through Chemistry: Dream or Reality in the Offing?” Dr. Hansl claims that this drug has been found in human studies he conducted to improve geometric pattern analysis, verbal proficiency, and speed of mathematical ability. (4)
In one unpublished human study he claimed that subjects were found to be significantly faster at solving simple algebra problems when taking PRL-8-53. (4) However, he does not go into detail as to how much of the drug the participants took.

How Does it Work?

Because of the very limited research into this substance, the below mechanisms are largely theoretical. Dr. Hansl’s studies support the below mechanisms, but no further studies have been done to confirm or expand this research.


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter largely responsible for the positive feelings of reward and pleasure. It is believed that PRL-8-53 is a dopamine agonist, a compound that activates dopamine receptors.
This conclusion was drawn from the published study on the effect of this drug on rats. (2) In this study, it was found that combining this drug with apomorphine, a dopamine agonist, led to increased apomorphine-induced gnawing in rats. This compulsive gnawing is thanks to apomorphine acting as a dopamine agonist. Additionally, it was found that this drug improved conditioned avoidance learning, which indicates action as a dopamine agonist.
Dopamine agonists, which are used to treat low levels of dopamine in the brain, are commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and ADHD.

Cholinergic Action

Dr. Hansl also believed that many of the memory-boosting effects were thanks to the ability of this drug to act on the cholinergic system, impacting acetylcholine (ACh) levels in the brain. ACh is often referred to as the “learning neurotransmitter,” and is involved in learning, memory, and focus.
The exact way that PRL-8-53 works to enhance ACh is unknown.

custom multivitamin pack

PRL-8-53 Experience

In one Reddit thread published in 2016, a user conducted a personal experiment where he supplemented with this drug and recorded its effects. This 20 year old college male also recorded what other supplements and nootropics he took, and when, for a period of two weeks.
During this two week experiment, he found no negative effects of taking this drug. He took doses of between 5 mg/day and 25 mg/day. He reported feeling similarly when taking both 10 mg and 15 mg, but when he took 20 mg on a test day he knew that it was working.
He concluded that larger doses led to noticeable effects on memory and recall and that 20 mg per day or more 30 minutes before “whatever you need it for” resulted in the most benefit.
Here he mixed this nootropic with caffeine, L-Theanine, Bacopa Monnieri, Aniracetam, Alpha-GPC, Noopept, and Unifiram with no noticeable negative interactions.
In a LongeCity thread posted in 2015, a user reported their experiences following 2 months of supplementation at 10 mg/day sublingually once every four days. Overall this user appreciated the improved memory and recall, however they reported that the focus they experienced on day one was an obsessive type of focus that was not great for productivity unless combined with other drugs, such as Adrafinil. This recall wasn’t reserved for only memories formed during supplementation, but even old memories.
In another LongeCity thread at the bottom of the page one user in 2018 reported having taken this drug for 2 years every morning at 5 mg and experiencing improved memory, focus, and processing of old thoughts. This user stated that they take PRL/Coluracetam for ACh purposes and Bromantane/Semax for dopamine.
Another LongeCity post claimed that following 2 months of a 5 days on 2 off regimine with 5-7 mg/day PRL and 10 mg/day Coluracetam led to not only cognitive boosts that didn’t fade, but cumulative pro-cognitive effects.
If you are interested in effects of nootropic stacking, the user noot_in_the_sky on this LongeCity post reviews 6 combinations they tried and their response to each.
Reviews of the powder sold by Nootropics Depot are some of the highest reviews found on any nootropic drug. Of 28 reviews, 19 are 5-star reviews, with zero 1-star reviews and only one 2-star review from a user who took 10 mg and did not feel anything.

Side Effects Reported By User Experiences

As there were no side effects found in the one human study, it is helpful to review the side effects reported by those who have shared their experiences.
In the discussion threads online, users have reported the following side effects (5,6,7,8):

  • Creates increased obsessive behavior in someone with diagnosed OCD
  • Synesthesia when combined with 45 mg caffeine
  • Numbing action and chemical taste when taking powder sublingually
  • Feelings of hyperthermia
    • Feelings of fever without an actual increased temperature
  • Fever
  • Lower blood pressure in someone with already low blood pressure
  • Headache (when taking large doses)
  • Insomnia (when taking large doses)
  • Fatigue with high dose or bad nootropic stack

As there have been very few people who have used this drug for years, the risks of taking this supplement long term are not known.

PRL-8-53 Dosage

Dosages for PRL 8-53 range from 5 mg/day and 25 mg/day, with most users taking it sublingually to enhance absorption. While the half-life of this substance is not known, user experiences report peak effects at about 30 minutes, with noticeable effects for 6 hours, and focus during initial dose only with memory improvements for four days after.

custom multivitamin pack

Where to Buy

Nootropics Depot PRL-8-53 powder is very highly reviewed by their users, and they are a trusted vendor that we stand behind. They are located in the USA and will ship to the UK.


  1. PRL-8-53: enhanced learning and subsequent retention in humans as a result of low oral doses of a new psychotropic agent
  2. A novel spasmolytic and CNS active agent 3-(2-benzylmethylamino ethyl) benzoic acid methyl ester hydrochloride
  3. Process of hydrolyzing 3-trifluoromethyl phenethylamines
  4. Learning and memory improvement through chemistry: dream or reality in the offing?
  5. Reddit
  6. LongeCity
  7. LongeCity
  8. LongeCity
  9. Nootropics Depot PRL-8-53 Powder

About Us

We’re a team of dedicated and honest writers that offer a no bullshit guide to health and supplementation. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.