Olanzapine versus clozapine in treatment-resistant or treatment-intolerant schizophrenia

Istvan Bitter, Martin R.K. Dossenbach, Shlomo Brook, Peter D. Feldman, Stephen Metcalfe, Carlo A. Gagiano, János Füredi, György Bartko, Zoltan Janka, Csaba M. Banki, Gabor Kovacs, Alan Breier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Clozapine has been the gold standard for treatment of patients with refractory schizophrenia but is associated with serious safety liabilities. This has prompted the search for therapeutic alternatives for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of olanzapine versus clozapine in schizophrenic patients who failed to respond adequately to antipsychotic medication or who experienced intolerable adverse effects associated with the medication. This 18-week, randomized, double-blind, parallel study compared treatment with either olanzapine (5-25 mg/day, n=75) or clozapine (100-500 mg/day, n=72) in patients with schizophrenia who were nonresponsive to, or intolerant of, standard acceptable antipsychotic therapy. At the 18-week endpoint, no statistically significant differences were found between olanzapine and clozapine in any efficacy measure used: Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total, positive, negative, or general psychopathology or Clinical Global Impression severity (CGI-S). Response rates based on the criteria of Kane et al. [Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 45 (1988) 789] were also not significantly different between olanzapine-treated (57.9%) and clozapine-treated patients (60.8%). There were no significant differences in measurements of extrapyramidal symptoms or electrocardiography, and no clinically and statistically significant changes were seen in vital signs or laboratory measures in either group. Both treatments were well tolerated. Olanzapine demonstrated similar efficacy to clozapine in patients who had failed previous treatment because of lack of efficacy (treatment resistance) or intolerable side effects (treatment intolerance). Olanzapine therefore presents a safe alternative in the treatment of refractory schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-180
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Clozapine
  • Drug resistance
  • Drug tolerance
  • Olanzapine
  • Schizophrenia
  • Treatment resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Biological Psychiatry

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