Patients with medically refractory epilepsy may benefit from resective epilepsy surgery. However even the best centers experience surgical failures. It is therefore important to find techniques that may aid in neurosurgical planning of epileptic focus resection. Recordings of electrical brain activity with EEG during seizures reveal abnormal cortical hypersynchronization. Between seizures the EEG often shows interictal depolarizing phenomena such as spikes reflecting an irritable focus of the brain. In the present study we investigated the effect of intravenous remifentanil on the spike activity in the temporal neocortex and hippocampus. We examined 65 patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy during surgery, prior to resection. We used a 20-lead grid on the cortex and a 4-lead strip in the lateral ventricle on the hippocampus. At least two 3-min periods of ECoG were recorded – before and after remifentanil injection. In a number of patients we examined the effect of repeated injections in order to estimate the dose-response curve. We describe a significant effect of remifentanil on the average spike activity with an increment from 16 spikes per minute at baseline to 36 spikes per minute after remifentanil injection (p < 0.0001). The increase in spike activity was typically seen after 40–50 s. When mu-receptors were antagonized with a preceding injection of naloxone, spike activity increased 25% in response to remifentanil as opposed to 80% when remifentanil was preceded by placebo. In only seven out of 59 patients did the injection of remifentanil change the topographic location of the spike focus. Typically administration of remifentanil led to a focus of increased spike count. Activity in other areas was suppressed making the focus stand out from the background. Our observation that remifentanil potentiates spike activity is in agreement with previous findings from smaller studies. Furthermore, we were able to describe the pharmacodynamics of the remifentanil effect on spike activity. Peri-operative provocation with remifentanil may play a future role in guiding neurosurgical intervention during epilepsy resection surgery.