We assessed the development of tolerance to the anticonvulsant effects of carbamazepine (CBZ), diazepam (DZP), and sodium valproate (VPA) on convulsions elicited by amygdala stimulation in kindled rats in three similar experiments. In each experiment, amygdala-kindled rats were assigned to a drug group or to a corresponding vehicle control group. The rats in the three drug groups received a total of 10 bidaily (one every 48 h) IP injections of CBZ (70 mg/kg), DZP (2 mg/kg) or VPA (250 mg/kg) at a dose that initially blocked the forelimb clonus elicited by an amygdala stimulation (400 microA, 60 Hz, 1 s) administered 1 h after the injection. The rats in the three vehicle control groups were similarly treated except that they received injections of the saline vehicle. The drug tolerance test occurred 48 h after the final tolerance-development trial; the rats from each drug group and the corresponding vehicle control group received an injection of the appropriate drug followed 1 h later by the administration of a convulsive stimulation. The drug tolerance test revealed almost total tolerance in each of the three drug groups but no tolerance in any of the three vehicle control groups. Such large tolerance effects are inconsistent with the less dramatic effects reported in previous studies; possible reasons for this inconsistency were considered.