We aimed to determine the effects of carbamazepine, which induces liver microsomal enzymes, and valproic acid on the serum lipids and liver function test results in epileptic children. Thirty-eight epileptic children (18 males, 20 females, mean age 8.6 +/- 3.9 years) were evaluated for serum lipids and liver function test results at the onset and the second and sixth months of antiepileptic therapy. The results of the children receiving carbamazepine (n = 31) and valproic acid (n = 7) were compared. In addition, the values obtained at different periods of treatment were compared within each group. The differences in the serum lipid levels and liver function test results of the children in the carbamazepine group and the valproic acid group were not statistically significant throughout the study. However, the total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein, and gamma glutamyl transferase levels were significantly increased in the carbamazepine group during treatment (P < 0.05) but not in the valproic acid group. Carbamazepine treatment alters the serum lipid profile of the children in such a way that it facilitates the development of atherosclerosis, Valproic acid does not alter the levels of the serum lipids. (C) 2000 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.