Citicoline is a brain chemical that occurs naturally in the body. As a medicine, it is taken by mouth as a supplement or given as an injection into the vein (by IV) or as a shot into the muscle.

In Japan and Europe, Citicoline was originally used as a prescription drug to help improve memory, thinking, and brain function in people who are healing from a stroke. It is primarily used as a dietary supplement in the U.S.

Citicoline is taken by mouth or given as an injection to help memory loss due to aging, improve vision in people with glaucoma, and help with recovery in stroke patients. It is also used for Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, bipolar disorder, lazy eye, and other conditions of the brain. But there is no good scientific research to support these other uses.


Is a Form of:

Brain chemical

Primary Functions:

Memory loss

Also Known As:

5'-Cytidine diphosphate choline, CDPC, CDP Choline, CDP-Choline

How Does It Work?

Citicoline seems to increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. This brain chemical is important for brain function. Citicoline might also increase the amounts of other chemicals that send messages in the brain.


  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Taking citicoline seems to help memory loss in people aged 50 to 85 years.
  • A group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma). Taking citicoline by mouth, as a shot, or as eye drops might improve vision in some people with glaucoma.
  • Stroke. Stroke patients who take citicoline by mouth or by IV within 24 hours of having the kind of stroke that is caused by a clot (ischemic stroke) are possibly more likely than other ischemic stroke patients to have a complete recovery within 3 months. Citicoline is most likely to work in people who can't receive a medicine called rtPA for their stroke.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age: 1000-2000 mg of citicoline per day.
  • For a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma): 500-1600 mg per day.
  • For stroke: 500-2000 mg of citicoline per day starting within 24 hours of stroke.


  • Healthcare providers give citicoline as a shot into the muscle for a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma). Healthcare providers also give citicoline as an injection into the vein (by IV) for decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age and to improve recovery after a stroke.

Citicoline Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What is citicoline good for?

Citicoline is taken by mouth or given as an injection to help memory loss due to aging, improve vision in people with glaucoma, and help with recovery in stroke patients. It is also used for Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, bipolar disorder, lazy eye, and other conditions of the brain.

What are the side effects of citicoline?

Adverse Reactions

Citicoline was well tolerated in clinical trials. Adverse effects may include GI disturbances, transient headaches, hypotension, tachycardia, bradycardia, and restlessness.

Does citicoline really work?

Neuroprotective activity of citicoline has been repeatedly shown in preclinical models of brain ischaemia and trauma, but two recent, large, pivotal clinical trials have revealed no benefits in ischaemic stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Is citicoline over the counter?

Citicoline (aka CDP-choline) is marketed as a drug in Europe and Japan and as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the United States. ... After oral administration, citicoline has a greater than 90% bioavailability and is rapidly metabolized to cytidine and choline (5).

Can you take citicoline everyday?

Oral dosages of 250 to 2,000 mg daily have been evaluated in adolescents and adults in clinical trials. Lower doses (100 mg twice daily) have been used in short-term trials (6 weeks) with combination therapy in patients with major depressive disorder.

How long does it take citicoline to work?

Dosing of Citicoline

Both of these dosages have produced beneficial effects. Dosages as high as 2,000 mg per day have shown benefit in patients with addictive disorders, and dosages of 2,000-4,000 mg per day for 6-12 weeks produced more significant improvements than lower dosages in patients recovering from a stroke.

Does citicoline lower BP?

Conclusion. Following 4-week citicoline treatment, there were significant decrease in average nocturnal SBP and average daytime and average nighttime SBP variabilities and an increase in the number of patients with normal average daytime and average nighttime BP variabilities.

Does citicoline help ADHD?

A 2014 research review notes that citicoline supplements may help with brain and nervous system disorders like glaucoma and certain kinds of dementia. It may also help reduce symptoms of ADHD. Citicoline is a prescription medication in some countries.

What foods contain citicoline?

Foods are not a good source of citicoline, according to WebMD, but many people take a supplement of this compound --which is very similar to choline -- and well-documented for its neurological health benefits. Good sources include meat, specifically liver, beans, cruciferous vegetables and eggs.

Does citicoline work like Adderall?

Citicoline is a prescription medication in some countries. In the United States, it's sold as a supplement. Side effects of taking citicoline are not yet known, although it's nontoxic and typically well tolerated. More research is needed on its use as an alternative to Adderall for ADHD.

Is citicoline a stimulant?

The ability to increase focus and attention is generally quite good. The difference between citicoline and the stimulant per se, is the effect of citicoline is to increase the brain's concentration of dopamine, that you're encouraging the brain to make dopamine when it otherwise might not do so.

Is citicoline effective in stroke?

A single clinical trial (FI-CDPc-HIC) has used citicoline in patients with hemorrhagic stroke [63]. ... In conclusion, citicoline is a safe and effective pharmacological product in patients with AICH and can be used in acute stroke patients even before images are obtained to separate ischemic from hemorrhagic stroke.

How does a citicoline work?

How does Citicoline work? Citicoline seems to increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. This brain chemical is important for brain function. Citicoline might also decrease brain tissue damage when the brain is injured.

Is citicoline a Nootropic?

Citicoline is considered to be a nootropic agent, meaning that it enhances focus, attention, and cognitive function in healthy individuals. Two recent placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated benefits of citicoline in healthy adults and teens.

What is citicoline 500mg?

Citicoline 500 mg - Coated tablets. Citicoline, activator of neuronal function, for symptoms related to senile involution (i.e.memory loss, cognitive aspects), as well as in post-traumatic brain injury, chronic dyskinesias, sequelae of thrombotic stroke, brain involutive and children's diseases.

What is citicoline sodium?

Citicoline is a nutritional supplement and source of choline and cytidine with potential neuroprotective and nootropic activity. Citicoline, also known as cytidine-5-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline, is hydrolyzed into cytidine and choline in the intestine.

Does citicoline cross the blood brain barrier?

The oral bioavailability of citicoline exceeds 90%, its metabolites cross the blood- brain barrier, and citicoline is resynthesized in the brain after oral consumption.

Clinical Studies