Here is the NZT 48 pill scene from the movie Limitless:
The Problem with NZT
Since people are attracted to products that can let them do more with less effort, the NZT pill has become profitable. Of course, a miracle drug like this does not exist in the world. It can be brushed off as a complete scam.
The biggest problem with this is not the fraudulent nature of the claims, but the danger of ingesting the marketed pills posing as NZT-48 pills. It is to be expected that there are no studies that back the effectiveness of the pills and its effects, good or bad, on humans —not to mention that most sellers do not disclose the ingredients of the products.
Potential Side Effects
To improve the marketability of NZT-48 pills, most sellers will claim that the drug does not have any side effects. However, they do claim that you will experience a multitude of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. Here are a few:
- Extreme Back Pain
- Fatigue and Insomnia
- Frequent UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Mouth Dryness and Nasal Congestion
- Sensitivity to Light and Sound
- Excessive Thirst and Hunger
- Increased or Decreased Libido
- Depression and Anxiety Disorder
In some cases, sellers and users do say that the pill has side effects, but they fail to be specific. The feedback on its side effects ranges from “experiencing a harsh kick” to an “unsavory feeling.” But if the limitless pill is truly a unique combination of antidepressants (more on that below), it can be expected that you might experience the following:
- Weight Gain and Increased Appetite
- Drowsiness and Fatigue
- Dizziness and Blurred Vision
- Agitation and Irritability
- Insomnia and Anxiety
About Limitless Movie
The movie stars Bradley Cooper, who plays Eddie Morra. The story revolves around Morra, a novel writer and the main character of the story, taking the pill that grants him the ability to fully utilize his brain functions, which results in him exhibiting extraordinary abilities.
Some of the feats that the protagonist of the film had accomplished were the following:
- Finishing a book in a day
- Charming any woman he wants
- Dominating the stock market
While the film was still under production and near its release, a campaign was released to improve its reception to moviegoers. The campaign published multiple professional-looking websites that marketed and sold the fictional medicine. Some of the websites still exist until today.
Here is the official trailer:
Marketing The “Limitless” Pill
NZT, according to the campaign websites, is defined as thallanylzirconio-methyl-tetrahydro-triazatriphenylene. It is alleged as a nootropic drug or smart drug that acts as a psychotropic medication. It is supposed to have the combined capabilities of the following antidepressants:
- SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) — a type of drug that is used as an antidepressant for anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder (more info).
- NaSSA (noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant) — a psychiatric medicine used as an antidepressant (source).
- NDRI (norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor) — a drug used to manage narcolepsy, clinical depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Read more here.
Even before the movie was created, marketers playing in the smart drug niche have been already working to profit from their respective products. When the movie came out, it gave them a huge opportunity to boost their own campaigns and coverage.
Fake social media accounts were created to make it appear that the movie was inspired by the existing nootropic supplements. Photoshopped fake messages from real celebrity accounts, including the ones who played roles in the film, were created for clickbait purposes.
On the other hand, many marketers outside the nootropics niche immediately jumped on the bandwagon to cash in a few dollars. They “created” and marketed their own version of the NZT-48 pill all over the Web. If you have been attentive to ads and banners of the websites you visited, you might have already read about these “limitless” pills.
Real Life Alternatives
Although the NZT Pill does not really exist, it does not mean that real nootropic supplements do not work or are dangerous. Most of them do improve brain functions by exciting neurotransmitters. They can temporarily enhance your brain’s memory functions, improve mood, and make you feel more awake. Nonetheless, no drug can deliver the complete effect of Limitless’ NZT-48 pill.
Here are five smart drugs and supplements that, at the very least, can partially deliver NZT-48’s effects:
- Modafinil — It allows the user to gain mental clarity and become more awake (source).
- Adrafinil — This was discovered when researchers were looking for a drug that could treat narcolepsy. When Adrafinil is ingested, the liver synthesizes it to Modafinil, which results in gaining the same effects of the latter (source).
- Choline — It is a nutrient that is processed by the body to become Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps with muscle control and memory. A few select food and supplements contain trace amounts of choline (source).
- Piracetam — This is a family of drugs that work as a cognitive enhancer. Some of the drugs in this category are Phenylpiracetam, Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam. Its effects are delivered by improving the functions of Acetylcholine. It is non-addicting and non-toxic, but it may deliver mild side effects such as stomachache and headache (source).
- Noopept — It was created when researchers in Russia were prototyping Pramiracetam. It is more potent than the other drugs in the Piracetam family. Some of its effects are enhancing directed thinking, the ability to focus, learning capabilities, and memory functions (source).