A 35-year-old, 50-kg female with a history of epilepsy was scheduled for elective breast surgery (fibroadenoma) under general anaesthesia. She was given glycopyrrolate 0.2 mg, ondansetron 4 mg and tramadol 100 mg i.v. as premedication. Within 5 min, she had an acute episode of generalised tonic–clonic seizure that was successfully treated with 75 mg thiopentone i.v. and after 30 min, she was given general anaesthesia with endotracheal intubation. Surgery, intra-operative period, extubation and post-operative period were uneventful. We conclude that tramadol may provoke seizures in patients with epilepsy even within the recommended dose range.