To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of levetiracetam or oxcarbazepine as monotherapy in children with newly diagnosed benign epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS). Twenty-one children (11 males, 10 females), aged between 5 and 13 years (mean 10.5 years), and 18 (10 M, 8 F), aged between 3.3 and 14 years (mean 8.4 years), were randomised to receive monotherapy with levetiracetam or oxcarbazepine, respectively. LEV was titrated up to 20-30 mg/kg/once or twice a day, and OXC up to 20-35 mg/kg once or twice a day. Thirty-nine consecutive children (21 males, 18 females), aged between 3.3 and 14 years (mean 10.7 years), were recruited into the study. Twenty-one were randomised on LEV (11 male, 10 female; mean age 10.5 years), and 18 on OXC (10 male, 8 female; mean age 8.4 years). After a mean follow-up period of 18.5 months (range 12-24 months), 19 out of 21 patients (90.5%) on levetiracetam, and 13 out of 18 (72,22%) on oxcarbazepine did not have further seizures. Mean serum level of LEV was 4.1 microg/ml (range 1.3-9.0), and of OXC was 15.2 microg/ml (range 4.2-27.5). Adverse side effects on LEV were reported in 3 children (14.3%), represented by mild and transient decreased appetite (2) and cephalalgia (1). They were reported on OXC in 2/18 (11.1%), including headache (1), and sedation (1). These preliminary data from an open, parallel group study suggest that levetiracetam and oxcarbazepine may be potentially effective and well tolerated drugs for children with BECTS who require treatment.