Comparative efficacy of olanzapine and haloperidol for patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Alan Breier, Susan H. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Background: There is relatively little information regarding the efficacy of newer atypical antipsychotic drugs for patients with schizophrenia who are treatment-resistant to neuroleptic agents. Several lines of evidence suggest that a clinical trial of olanzapine in this population is warranted. Methods: A subpopulation of patients (n = 526) meeting treatment-resistant criteria selected from a large, prospective, double-blind, 6-week study assessing the efficacy and safety of olanzapine and haloperidol were examined. Both last-observation-carried-forward (LOCF) and completers (observed cases) analyses were conducted. Results: Olanzapine demonstrated significantly greater mean improvement from baseline in Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) negative symptoms, comorbid depressive symptoms assessed by the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, akathisia as measured by Barnes Akathisia Scale, and extrapyramidal symptoms as measured by Simpson-Angus Extrapyramidal Rating Scale with both LOCF and completers analyses. In addition, olanzapine was significantly superior to haloperidol for Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale total (p = .006), PANSS total (p = .005), and PANSS positive symptoms (p = .017) in completers of the 6- week study. Significantly greater response rates were observed in olanzapine- treated (47%) than haloperidol-treated (35%) patients in the LOCF analysis (p = .008), but significance was not reached in the completers analysis (p = .093). Mean doses (±SD) of olanzapine and haloperidol were 11.1 ± 3.4 mg/day and 10.0 ± 3.6 mg/day, respectively. Conclusions: Olanzapine was superior to haloperidol for key symptom domains and parkinsonian side effects. Implications of these data for the therapeutics of this severely ill subgroup are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1999


  • Haloperidol
  • Nonresponders
  • Olanzapine
  • Treatment-resistant schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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