The new antiepileptic drug zonisamide was evaluated in a European multicenter parallel-group double-blind trial as add-on treatment for 139 patients with refractory partial epilepsy. During treatment with zonisamide complex partial seizures decreased by 27.7% compared to placebo (P < 0.05) and the median rate dropped from 12/month to 7.1/month with no changes in the placebo group (P < 0.007). During the 12-week double-blind phase a 50% reduction of all seizures was recorded in 29.9% of the patients treated with zonisamide vs. 9.4% during placebo. Complete remission was observed during treatment with zonisamide in 6.2%. The plasma concentrations of the concomitant antiepileptic drugs did not change markedly when zonisamide was added. Adverse events, mostly fatigue, somnolence, dizziness and ataxia, occurred in 59.2% of the patients compared to 27.9% during placebo. Zonisamide was withdrawn in two patients due to adverse events. Kidney stones were not observed nor any relevant clinical chemistry or hematological changes. Zonisamide is an effective antiepileptic drug for add-on treatment of refractory partial epilepsy.