Abstract Carbamazepine (CBZ) is used in neurology for the treatment of epilepsies and trigeminal neuralgia and in psychiatry for the prophylactic treatment of affective and schizoaffective psychoses. Since a common mechanism of epilepsies and affective psychoses might be increased intracelllular calcium ion levels, CBZ action was analyzed in penicillin, caffeine and low Mg 2+ induced model epilepsies which have been shown to be suppressed specifically by organic calcium antagonists. In CA3 and CA1 areas of hippocampal slice preparations of guinea pigs CBZ reduced paroxysmal depolarizations and extracellular field potentials (EFP) in a typical time and concentration dependent manner as it is known from calcium antagonists. Furthermore, subthreshold concentrations of the organic calcium antagonist verapamil intensified the action of CBZ. NMDA induced increases of the discharge rate of EFP were, however, unaffected by CBZ.