This prospective study was carried out to determine changes in the antioxidant system in epileptic children receiving long term antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Levels of erythrocyte glutathione (GSH), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and serum lipid peroxidation were determined in 25 healthy children and 30 epileptic children who had not yet received AEDs. Sixteen patients were treated with valproic acid (VPA) and 14 with carbamazepine (CBZ); 13 months later these parameters were retested. The results showed that SOD and lipid peroxidation levels were increased but the GSH-Px levels were decreased in epileptic children on VPA therapy compared with the control group and the results before treatment. No significant differences of these parameters were found in epileptic children on CBZ therapy compared with the control group and the results before treatment, except that lipid peroxidation level was slightly higher in epileptic patients before treatment. We conclude that antioxidant systems in epileptic children on CBZ therapy are better regulated in comparison with epileptic children on VPA therapy. © 2011, by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. All rights reserved.