Comparison of risperidone and olanzapine as used under "real-world" conditions in a state psychiatric hospital

Claire Advokat, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, 236 Audubon Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.
Dennis Dixon
Jeffrey Schneider
Joseph E. Comaty


As a follow-up to our previous study of clozapine, medical records of a state psychiatric hospital were reviewed for patients who were prescribed an atypical antipsychotic. From that sample, demographic and clinical data were obtained for individuals with an initial score of 35 or greater on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and at least two additional successive monthly BPRS ratings. A total of 100 patients met the criteria. Most received either olanzapine (46%) or risperidone (36%), with few administered quetiapine (11%) or clozapine (7%). Most also received adjunctive medications, including conventional antipsychotics, anticonvulsants/mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antiparkinsonian agents. The number of patients whose BPRS total scores decreased by 20% or more from baseline was significantly greater for those who received olanzapine than those who received risperidone. However, there was no difference between the two antipsychotics in the number of patients who maintained that degree of improvement, in the average latency to achieve that decrease (1.67 and 1.47 months, respectively), or the average length of stay (LOS; 332 and 376 days, respectively). These results indicate a modest therapeutic advantage of olanzapine compared to risperidone, and a substantial degree of polypharmacy in the use of atypical antipsychotics. This uncontrolled "real-world" evaluation supports data from controlled clinical trials, showing that either risperidone or olanzapine would be a reasonable first choice in patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia, with the decision based on the least adverse side effect profile and economic constraints. When compared to our previous clozapine study, we confirm a slight advantage for the effectiveness of clozapine in the treatment of this refractory population.