Abstract The aim of this study is to investigate the neuroprotective effects of the anticonvulsant topiramate in a new model of traumatic brain injury in rats. A new model of traumatic brain injury, based on the weight-drop technique, was developed for the purpose of this study. Seventy-five male Wistar rats weighing 320–470 g were studied. All rats were anesthetized, subsequently submitted to a round craniectomy in the left parietal region and a weight of 50 g was used for the production of a cortical contusion. In study I, 44 rats were randomized in three groups to receive either topiramate 40 mg/kg (n=13), topiramate 60 mg/kg (n=14), or water for injection (n=17) i.p. 30 min after the injury and every 12 h thereafter for 3 days. The rats were tested clinically 24 h, 72 h, 10 days and 20 days after the injury. On day 21 the animals were sacrificed and the brains were removed and prepared for histopathological analysis. In study II, 19 rats were randomized to receive either topiramate 60 mg/kg (n=10) or water for injection (n=9) i.p. 30 min after the injury and every 12 h (four doses in total). 48 h after the injury the animals were sacrificed and the brains were rapidly removed and analyzed for water content with the dry-wet weight technique. The animals that received topiramate performed significantly better in neurological tests compared to the animals that received vehicle ten (P<0.05) and 20 (P<0.001) days after the injury. There was no difference between the high and the low dose of the drug. Topiramate had no effect on the anatomic volume of the lesion. The animals that received topiramate had a tendency to present with less cerebral edema formation, but the difference was not statistically significant (P>0.05). These findings suggest that topiramate promotes neurological recovery in rats after traumatic brain injury without affecting the final size of the traumatic lesion and that it might play a role in the reduction of post-traumatic cerebral edema.