Despite half a century of antipsychotic drug treatment, the outcome of therapy in schizophrenia remains disappointing. Relapse, rehospitalization, limited fulfilment of social roles, and suicide remain frequent, and the economic costs are high. Current relapse rates may be two to three times higher than those that could be achieved with optimal use of therapy. Poor compliance with treatment is considered to be a significant preventable cause of poor outcome and is in turn likely to be influenced by the patient's experience of drug treatment. There is some evidence that extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), particularly akathisia and neuroleptic dysphoria, are associated with poor compliance and poor treatment outcome. Atypical antipsychotics have a lower risk of EPS than do standard antipsychotics. Some (risperidone, olanzapine, and ziprasidone) show evidence of a dose-related increase in EPS, but clozapine and quetiapine have demonstrated a placebo-level incidence of EPS across the dose range. Quetiapine does not require the regular blood monitoring mandated for clozapine, and results from a patient survey indicate a high degree of patient satisfaction with treatment. While further research is needed, it is possible that wider use of medications with low EPS and high patient acceptability could promote better compliance and improve the outcome of schizophrenia treatment.