Abstract The effects of carbamazepine (CBZ) treatment on local anesthetic-kindled seizures and lethality were evaluated in different stages of the kindling process and under different methods of CBZ administration. Chronic oral CBZ inhibited the development of both lidocaine- and cocaine-inducedseizures, but had little effect on the fully developed local anesthetic seizures. Chronic CBZ also decreased the incidence of seizure-related mortality in the cocaine-injected rats. Acute CBZ over a range of doses (15–50 mg/kg) had no effect on completed lidocaine-kindled or acute cocaine-induced seizures. Repeated i.p. injection of CBZ (15 mg/kg) also was without effect on the development of lidocaine- or cocaine-kindled seizures. The differential effects of CBZ depending upon stage of seizure development suggest that distinct mechanisms underlie the development versus maintenance of local anesthetic-kindled seizures. The effectiveness of chronic but not repeated, intermittent injections of CBZ sugests that different biochemical consequences result from the different treatment regimens. The possible utility of chronic CBZ in preventing the development of toxic side effects in human cocaine users is suggested by these data, but remains to be directly evaluated.