No new antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) were licensed in the United States from 1978 to 1992. In late 1992, felbamate and gabapentin were recommended for approval, and in early 1993, lamotrigine. In July 1993, felbamate was licensed, and gabapentin and lamotrigine may soon follow. Lamotrigine, vigabatrin and clobazam are in use outside the US. Tiagabine, oxcarbazepine, fosphenytoin, topiramate, vigabatrin and zonisamide are in Phase II clinical testing in the US. All of the new AEDs are effective against partial and tonic-clonic seizures. Few controlled clinical trials have been done in patients with absence and myoclonic seizures. Mechanisms of action of the new drugs have not been clearly defined. The new AEDs will provide an opportunity to improve the care of epileptic patients. Even with optimal management with currently available drugs, some 30% of patients remain refractory to medical management.