We studied the efficacy and safety of felbamate, an investigational antiepileptic drug, in a unique, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Sixty-four patients with refractory partial-onset seizures who completed a routine evaluation for epilepsy surgery met seizure frequency entry criteria. Each patient received felbamate or placebo in addition to the anticonvulsant regimen present at the conclusion of the presurgical evaluation. The treatment phase consisted of an 8-day inpatient period and a 21-day outpatient period. The efficacy variable was time to fourth seizure. The difference in time to fourth seizure was statistically significant (p = 0.028) in favor of felbamate. Eighty-eight percent of the patients in the placebo group had a fourth seizure during the treatment phase compared with 46% of the patients in the felbamate group (p = 0.001). Adverse experiences with felbamate were generally mild or moderate in severity. This trial demonstrated the ability of felbamate to quickly and safely reduce the occurrence of frequent partial-onset seizures and maintain effective seizure control following reductions in the dosages of standard antiepileptic drugs.